So, a while back I had a blog post called Things I Don't Do (But Sometimes Wish I Did).
You can read it HERE.
I was surprised and delighted that I made a lot of folks feel better and maybe saved you a little money on therapy. You're welcome.
But in that post I promised to write about some things I do do.
First and foremost, however, it's important to note that I am not telling you that you should do these things.
They are things that help me.
They might not help you.
So feel free to just roll your eyes and move along.
1. I make what I call a story map. You can read about what it is and why I do it HERE.
2. I often draw an actual "map" of my main setting. Clearly, I am no artist (as evidenced below). But this visual is useful when maneuvering a character around the setting.
|A map of the setting of On the Road to Mr. Mineo's|
Ironically, when the brilliant artist, Greg Call, was sketching a map of the setting for the interior of the book, my editor, Frances Foster, asked me if I happened to have drawn a map. I reluctantly told her I had, but it was, um, a bit primitive. (For a brief moment, I considered redrawing it - or better yet, having someone else draw it.) But I sent my silly map and, magically, here is Greg's version:
3. I use Scrivener. I think most of my writer friends do, as well. There's so much to love about this program, but one is that it provides a number of ways to organize a novel visually.
For instance, the corkboard, on which index cards can be arranged, rearranged, color-coded, labeled, etc.
|This is The Small Adventure of Popeye and Elvis|
I also love the Outliner feature, which can be customized to include whatever elements are important to you and your novel.
|This is a work-in-progress. I've included a brief description of each chapter, along with setting and timeline. You could add characters or emotional arcs or whatever.|
I had a computer crash a while back and lost my Scrivener version of On the Road to Mr. Mineo's. Dang it. I'd love to show you that because, since it had 10 points-of-view, Scrivener was invaluable to me. I was able to color code each point of view. I could also take them out of the manuscript and group them together to see how they flowed. (That probably makes no sense, but, trust me, it was very useful.)