And it's served me well.
|Going without pants has worked for Daisy Duck for decades.|
Probably I should provide some background information, so everyone doesn't run out and get a WWSD bracelet as they constantly wonder What would Sioux do? because these days, I usually write creative nonfiction pieces that are 800-1,200 words long. Those projects--from my perspective--don't need to be outlined. Simply relying on my muse works. Just recently I've started dabbling in essay-writing, and I'm using what I call the "spackle" method. Where there are holes, I fill 'em in.
Is the essay lacking statistics or data? I'll find some.
Is the essay dry or heartless? I'll slip in some personal anecdotal stuff.
Is the essay too linear? I'll insert some factual digressions.
However, a middle-grades novel that's 40,000-50,000 words long is way different than an essay or a short memoir piece. After hiring an editor (Margo is a shining gem, in my opinion. Do they get any better? I don't think so), I've resigned myself to the fact that I must do some sort of outlining/organizing. Writing by the seat of my pants didn't work. Using my normal methods, my manuscript ended up being a boring mess. I managed to write about a massacre... and my story lacked tension and excitement (which required supreme talent ;).
So, I've set out to find something that works for me. Outlining with roman numerals and capital letters? No way. That ain't me. Using software like Scrivener? I tried it for free during one NaNoWriMo and was immediately flummoxed. I need to find a way to organize my plot that allows for an organic unfolding of events... but also ensures that the various threads run through it and ensures that tension is part of the story.
Here is one way of mapping out a story--like subway lines--that is visual and weird enough, it just might work for me. I'm working on a historical fiction manuscript. I've got a few threads I'm
However, I really like the binder method (it's # 5 in the article) because I recently found some online maps of the community I'm writing about. Later this summer I'm planning a trip to do some research for the manuscript. I can envision plastic sheet protectors and colorful tabs to help me keep things straight. I can see the maps helping me organize the story because the characters are going to have to navigate through the city as they try to survive.
I can also see the combination of the subway-style story map working with the binder... a hybrid way of organizing. A mash-up of a couple of strategies.
This might work because Sioux
How about you? What helps you stay organized when it comes to novel-writing? Hot-messes-of- minds like me want to know...
Sioux Roslawski is a wife, a mom, a grammy, a teacher, a dog rescuer... and a writer. During the summer she reads voraciously and tries not to procrastinate too much when it comes to writing. (Sometimes the procrastination wins and sometimes Sioux does.) If you're a glutton for the above stuff, check out her blog.