A File of Notes
Every time a writer gets an idea, a hot plot line, a shocking sentence, a joke, it should be jotted down. Those that are hand written should soon be entered with the rest into a file of notes in a word processor. Before “walking away” from that note, make sure you have captured it properly in words, so the original mood or thought is clearly expressed.
Nothing is worse than to look back at your entries, searching for something you know you logged, and not understand why you wrote something.
You may not know into which story any of the notes fit, but they are just too good a thought or idea and should be captured, given life, and not left to recall later when the original creativity and memory has faded.
Into that file of notes goes everything that you cannot presently use. Character sketches, humor, plot ideas, beginnings, endings, titles, something someone said. You name it. From this file of notes is where you will draw many tidbits to enhance your stories, especially when your Muse takes unannounced time off.
Very often with me, a certain entry will stand out in my mind and my muse will “play with it,” that is, enlarge the idea, and make something happen with it. At that point I usually know into which story the material can be applied. Should I not know where it belongs, I simply enter the new information expanding the first idea and then leave it alone.
I have gone back to my notes for each and every novel or short story that I write. In the case of making notations of funny lines and crazy quips, when I knave a particular character with a unique personality, I know exactly which lines I can pull from the notes and incorporate into my story.
The importance of note making can’t be stressed enough; hence, the use of the proverbial paper table napkin, ala JK Rowling and Ernest Hemingway before her.
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