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Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Beyond the Book: I Do and I Don't

This week I'm talking about using notes. Well, I do and I don’t. I bought myself a nice appointment book, and I write down everything there. I do a schedule for my blog posts, doctor visits, outings with friends, etc. If it isn’t in the book, it probably won’t get done. Years ago I could keep a mental list and all was well, but as I’ve gotten older I need a little help keeping up with things. My husband tells me to use the planner on my phone, but by the time he can pull it up, I’ve already opened my book and found what I wanted. Yeah, I guess I’m a little old-fashioned that way, but it does work for me.

What about using notes as I write? This is going to be a fairly short paragraph because the truth is, I don’t usually take any notes. Before I begin writing I see my characters in my mind. I know what they look like and how they feel about the world in general. I name them based on the way I see them in my head so I’m never confused about how they look. I know where I want my story to begin and where I want it to end up, and then I just start writing. Different scenes come to me as I’m writing. As I said, I know where I want to end up, and all I have to do is figure out how to get there.

Would taking notes help? I don’t know. I thought I might try it sometime and see if it made my work better. I could have one of those enormous charts I’ve seen other writers use, full of descriptions, details, and plot summaries. The one thing that worries me about doing that is that I like for my characters to drive the story and take me where they want to go. If it was all written down I wonder if I’d lose some spontaneity.

Authors, what about you? Do you fly by the seat of your pants like I do, or are you a little more organized?

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