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Posts Tagged ‘organizing your novel’

Chapter by Chapter

September 10, 2008 Leave a comment

When I first thought about writing a novel, I immediately thought not of character or plot, but how I was going to organize 300 or more pages and move through the scenes and chapters deftly.

My first thought is to use notecards.  This simple, old-fashioned way of tracking and moving scenes has been updated by computer notecards, but nevertheless, every bit as effective.  My next thought was using Adobe Pagemaker.  It is an excellent software package that enables the writer to see how the words will lay on the finished page.  It anchors images and can format the pages so the layout will stay consistent.  I had an old copy of Pagemaker and remembered that the extensions on the saved documents didn’t easily lend itself with sharing documents on other word processing software.  Realistically, buying the updated version was not cost effective.

So, I found the second best thing to notecards. Chapter-by-Chapter (CbC)is free.  Here’s the link: http://pagesperso-orange.fr/sebastien.berthet/cbc/

CbC mimics the outlining style of Pagemaker.  It isn’t as robust, but who really uses all those features?
This is a simple but powerful program whose goal is to make writing your novel easier to write. You write the pages in a Word document and then tie it to a outline format, so you can visibily see how your story line unfolds.  It allows you to move sections of text to other pages and reformats changes.

I just discovered this tool, so I haven’t had a chance to use it myself. Check it out and let me know how this works for you.

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Organizing Your Novel Toolbox

April 4, 2008 Leave a comment

I am always amazed at people who write novels without first plotting.  They freewrite and polish up the awkward sentences, add some transitions, and submit it for publication.  But if you look at a well crafted novel, it is more than storytelling.  It is about taking the reader to another place.  It is about braiding subplots and developing interesting and bigger than life characters.  

As you study good fiction writers, you can see how complex details can become.  Since books are written over time, it is easy for the writer to forget characters and their motivations, plot development, etc.  One tool I found useful is called ywriter4.  It is FREE.

Apparently, a computer programmer was frustrated by his inability to keep track of themes and character threads.  He developed a computer program  to do just that.  His program helps you track exactly what you develop, so that you can see where you’ve been and where you are going….It is a great tool and worth downloading.  So, if you have been using the pencil and notebook and still feel like you don’t have a grip on the overarching view of your novel, check this out.  http://www.spacejock.com/yWriter4.html

Also of interest on Simon’s site is a submission tracker; a track your minutes program if you are a freelance writer and need to track billable hours; and articles on Writing.  Visit his Resources for Writers page to see if his suggestions are something you might want to use.