In June of 2014 (or maybe it was July, I don’t really remember), I had decided to start planning my novel for NaNoWriMo ’14, and so I gathered up a plot bunny I’d had a while back, combined it with a different idea, and started developing it. When NaNo came around, I had semi-developed characters, the vaguest hint of a world, a bit of a beginning, and zero plot. When November ended, I had 100k of flat characters, broken plot, and non-existent world building.
It was awesome. Staring 2015, I started editing. And world building. And…more world building. And…oh yeah, I did world building, did I mention that part yet? Plus some world building. And then when I thought maybe I’d done enough of world building, I edited some more.
I finished draft two on Halloween. Then for NaNoWriMo ’15, I wrote assorted scenes for the sequels. By the time this November ended, I decided I was sick of this world, this story, these characters.
Don’t get me wrong. I adore them. I love working with these ones, and even though draft three is going to be a huge, time-consuming process that will probably take almost as long as draft two did (which was ten months, roughly…maybe nine, because I don’t remember if I started in January or February), I am so looking forward to it.
But first, I really would like to explore a different story. Something totally new, totally different, totally unrelated.
And that’s what I’m doing now!
I mentioned in a previous post that this story is basically sci-fi Sleeping Beauty meets a heist. It’s going to be awesome. (It had better be, anyway.)
I discovered recently that I’m actually more of an outliner than a discovery writer, so the first step was to, well, plan.
This is how I planned.
That is my bedroom wall.
The bottom right corner is a timeline. The story is set in America at 2137AD, so I wanted to figure out some of the important things that happened between now and then. Like world war three. It’s not very detailed, and I probably don’t have as much information as I could have, but it works for now.
The other white papers were originally a to-do list for what I needed for world building and stuff. On the left is world building, and the purple sticky notes taped there are related to world building. I assigned each sticky note to a particular part of it. (I tried to write small, and I didn’t get very detailed, so yeah, only one sticky note for each thing.) In the middle is character related stuffs. Personality, backstories, and other stuff. (Strangely enough, I never actually figured out what my characters look like.) The right ones are just random things I wanted to make sure I figured out.
Below that is my outline. At the bottom of the white pieces of paper, I noted parts of the Three Act Structure, and then way below that, the salmon-pink pieces of paper are character arc events relating to the three act structure that I recently learned about in this cool post. In between those, the purple sticky notes are events relating to the plot, while the other colors are each associated with a character, and so the events written on those are related to that particular character.
I don’t know if any of that makes any sense to anybody besides myself, but that’s what I have. I considered a few months ago trying to get Aeon Timeline because it sounds awesome and it syncs with Scrivener, but then there was just too much to put in when I messed with the trial. I think I like this, though. Sticky notes on my wall.
The only downfall is I think I’m going to run out of sticky notes.
That’s basically the extent of my prewriting. I rambled a bunch at my other writing friends, especially about the worldbuilding, but then as soon as I figured it out, I wrote a condensed, focused version on a sticky note and taped it to the wall.
Also, fun fact: sticky notes don’t seem to stick to the wall very well. So I had to use my masking tape.
So that’s what I’ve got. How do the rest of you prefer to keep track of your prewriting and notes?