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Having Trouble Organizing My Ideas (1 Viewer)

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sunaynaprasad

WF Veterans
Although organization has always been a struggle for me, I've also been strong at planning. In fact, I can't write without planning. Sometimes, I even over-plan, but that's rare these days, excluding because of the pandemic. It's been more of a maturity thing.
Anyway, I am trying to organize my revision plans for me WIP, but it's hard for some reason. I did write a bunch of ideas down on index cards, which I taped to a poster board, something I usually don't do. However, it's still not helping. I finished the draft at the very end of August, and as I come up with new ideas, I write them down on cards and put them on the board.
The organization block isn't also just affecting my novel writing, but also my blog writing. I tried to organize what I was going to write for my next posts, but still had trouble. I write down the topics beforehand and they're all the kinds I get excited about.
I know I can outline my ideas. But my mind feels all over the place. Should I let my WIP sit longer before returning to it? Some experts says wait at least 6 weeks. It's only been two and a half weeks for me. In the meantime, I'm working on synopses for my next WIP and am using a different approach to producing it since the one I've been working on for years is taking forever. But even with the next project, I get plotter's block at times.
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
First of all, congratulations on finishing your first draft!

I have never heard of a plan for revisions, but your card idea sounds useful.

One thing that works well for me, when using that type of pin board for any type of planning is to colour code the items. I use coloured Post-its. So a different colour for characters, sub-characters, plotline, theme, actions, settings, reltionships, etc. Then I can move them around to see where there are connections. If one item connects to mutiples, then I can cluster them. So when I glance at it, I can see where the holes are if there are too many of one colour in one place, for example, more actions or more characters may be needed.

I have no experience with when to review a WIP. But if it was me, I'd just do it when I felt ready. Why wait?

Good luck!
 

sunaynaprasad

WF Veterans
The first draft was actually years ago. I can't keep track of how many drafts I wrote. I've been trying to write final drafts for a year. But thanks for the compliment. Maybe I can consider your technique. I am also considering to teach myself to dictate words the same way I write them.
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
The first draft was actually years ago. I can't keep track of how many drafts I wrote. I've been trying to write final drafts for a year. But thanks for the compliment. Maybe I can consider your technique. I am also considering to teach myself to dictate words the same way I write them.

I can't wait to get my first draft done. But I am curious why it would take so long to get to a final draft. I hope to have my novel done in one year. I wasn't thinking it would take very many drafts to get to the final draft. Is this something I should expect? What types of things do you need to tighten up?
 

Terra

Senior Member
Although organization has always been a struggle for me, I've also been strong at planning. In fact, I can't write without planning. Sometimes, I even over-plan, but that's rare these days, excluding because of the pandemic. It's been more of a maturity thing.
Anyway, I am trying to organize my revision plans for me WIP, but it's hard for some reason. I did write a bunch of ideas down on index cards, which I taped to a poster board, something I usually don't do. However, it's still not helping. I finished the draft at the very end of August, and as I come up with new ideas, I write them down on cards and put them on the board.
The organization block isn't also just affecting my novel writing, but also my blog writing. I tried to organize what I was going to write for my next posts, but still had trouble. I write down the topics beforehand and they're all the kinds I get excited about.
I know I can outline my ideas. But my mind feels all over the place. Should I let my WIP sit longer before returning to it? Some experts says wait at least 6 weeks. It's only been two and a half weeks for me. In the meantime, I'm working on synopses for my next WIP and am using a different approach to producing it since the one I've been working on for years is taking forever. But even with the next project, I get plotter's block at times.

I’ve heard of the six-week waiting period, and it’s a good timeframe to use but you’ll probably be ready sooner than that (in my opinion) because you’re aware of the blockage. My question is what exactly IS the blockage? Nerves? Excitement? When I get scattered with ideas or maneuvering through a blockage, I take the time to sit with the scatteredness and ask my writer self questions about it. I write the answers on post it notes like Taylor suggests, similar to stream of consciousness writing, and usually it only takes a day or so and voila, blockage is gone and I move on with my WIP, with bonus new ideas on post its that came out of nowhere.

Oh, and yes, yes, YES to dictation! I live alone with my cat who is a great listener, but rarely gives any feedback other than demanding food;) Not so easy to go back and listen to my voice, but once I got used to hearing it, it’s become a great way to capture thoughtballs on the fly.

Good luck and I look forward to hearing that you’ve busted through the blockage.
 

Sir-KP

Senior Member
I take it that 6 weeks is basically to 'ferment' the idea?

If yes, then take all the time you need, but holy hell, 6 weeks is a month and a half. That's wasting daylight.

I suggest you to just continue, slowly, roughly, and don't mind about the choppiness. Perhaps best to save it on a different Word file.
 
As someone who also plans revisions, I can tell you different methods I've used (not necessarily all at once). Sometimes different planning and revising methods work for different novels, so perhaps one of these will work.


  • Rereading, making notes but not changes: This allows you to quickly get a feel for the whole book, and makes it easier to spot inconsistencies. Personally, I just use google docs and make comments as I write, and/or using different color highlighters to note specific errors, but if you have a printer, try changing the font and printing it out. This is good for all types of edits, but can be particullarly useful for prose level edits if you want to be able to tackle things one scene at a time by looking at your notes on that particular scene.
  • Reoutlining: This one is great for structural level changes, you can test out different changes and their effects and get a good idea of the big picture at a glance.
  • Seperate out the general changes: I have one document I've labled general changes. This covers both changes that will arch over several chapters, such as fixing the characterization of a certain character, and changes that I need to make but am not sure where, such as introducing a bit of worldbuilding information. Then, I can work through where these should go, possibly by marking up my new outline or ascribing parts of them to certain scenes.

Best of Luck!
 

bazz cargo

Retired Supervisor
Hi Sunay,
There isn't a hard and fast way to deal with The Edit. I usually get a friend or family member to have a read. A bit of a discussion can be helpful. Otherwise it is several read throughs and then a technical edit. I have discovered the joy of kerning.
Good luck
BC
Although organization has always been a struggle for me, I've also been strong at planning. In fact, I can't write without planning. Sometimes, I even over-plan, but that's rare these days, excluding because of the pandemic. It's been more of a maturity thing.
Anyway, I am trying to organize my revision plans for me WIP, but it's hard for some reason. I did write a bunch of ideas down on index cards, which I taped to a poster board, something I usually don't do. However, it's still not helping. I finished the draft at the very end of August, and as I come up with new ideas, I write them down on cards and put them on the board.
The organization block isn't also just affecting my novel writing, but also my blog writing. I tried to organize what I was going to write for my next posts, but still had trouble. I write down the topics beforehand and they're all the kinds I get excited about.
I know I can outline my ideas. But my mind feels all over the place. Should I let my WIP sit longer before returning to it? Some experts says wait at least 6 weeks. It's only been two and a half weeks for me. In the meantime, I'm working on synopses for my next WIP and am using a different approach to producing it since the one I've been working on for years is taking forever. But even with the next project, I get plotter's block at times.
 

TL Murphy

Met3 Member
Staff member
Chief Mentor
I have always found it useful, when face with an overwhelming task, to break it down into a series of smaller tasks. I then feel a sense of accomplishment as I complete each segment. I feel that I'm moving forward instead of feeling that most of the work is looming over me. I know that I will eventually get there instead of feeling like like I'll never get there.
 

LadySilence

Senior Member
I write a whole a single sheet OpenOffice
Then I elaborate and separate the various ideas.

1) I write the plot.
2) I write one, I have multiple endings.
3) I start defining the characters.
4) I choose the place where I set the story.



Now I'm trying Scrivaner.
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
I write a whole a single sheet OpenOffice
Then I elaborate and separate the various ideas.

1) I write the plot.
2) I write one, I have multiple endings.
3) I start defining the characters.
4) I choose the place where I set the story.

Now I'm trying Scrivaner.

In the early stages, I make notes the old fashioned way - in a writing journal... made from paper, and I use a pen. It's a fast way to get ideas down and I can do it anywhere - even while my wife and I are watching television. Later, if the idea seems to have some legs, I use Word and start laying down bullet plot points, and do the same for my characters.

It's a long process that I often liken to herding cats. Most ideas don't make it to the first draft, but some do.
 

LadySilence

Senior Member
In the early stages, I make notes the old fashioned way - in a writing journal... made from paper, and I use a pen. It's a fast way to get ideas down and I can do it anywhere - even while my wife and I are watching television. Later, if the idea seems to have some legs, I use Word and start laying down bullet plot points, and do the same for my characters.

It's a long process that I often liken to herding cats. Most ideas don't make it to the first draft, but some do.

You are right.
If I'm not at the PC, and I don't have a phone nearby,
I also use pen and paper.
I never trash any idea, I put it aside.
I wait some time, and then i evaluate if it's an idea to save or trash.
 

bookmasta

WF Veterans
Although organization has always been a struggle for me, I've also been strong at planning. In fact, I can't write without planning. Sometimes, I even over-plan, but that's rare these days, excluding because of the pandemic. It's been more of a maturity thing.
Anyway, I am trying to organize my revision plans for me WIP, but it's hard for some reason. I did write a bunch of ideas down on index cards, which I taped to a poster board, something I usually don't do. However, it's still not helping. I finished the draft at the very end of August, and as I come up with new ideas, I write them down on cards and put them on the board.
The organization block isn't also just affecting my novel writing, but also my blog writing. I tried to organize what I was going to write for my next posts, but still had trouble. I write down the topics beforehand and they're all the kinds I get excited about.
I know I can outline my ideas. But my mind feels all over the place. Should I let my WIP sit longer before returning to it? Some experts says wait at least 6 weeks. It's only been two and a half weeks for me. In the meantime, I'm working on synopses for my next WIP and am using a different approach to producing it since the one I've been working on for years is taking forever. But even with the next project, I get plotter's block at times.

I think you should take a step back. It sounds like you've hit a wall with inspiration and ideas. For myself, I've found that I actually get my best ideas for my writing by removing myself from time to time and doing other passions that have nothing to with it.
 

Newman

Senior Member
Although organization has always been a struggle for me, I've also been strong at planning. In fact, I can't write without planning. Sometimes, I even over-plan, but that's rare these days, excluding because of the pandemic. It's been more of a maturity thing.
Anyway, I am trying to organize my revision plans for me WIP, but it's hard for some reason. I did write a bunch of ideas down on index cards, which I taped to a poster board, something I usually don't do. However, it's still not helping. I finished the draft at the very end of August, and as I come up with new ideas, I write them down on cards and put them on the board.
The organization block isn't also just affecting my novel writing, but also my blog writing. I tried to organize what I was going to write for my next posts, but still had trouble. I write down the topics beforehand and they're all the kinds I get excited about.
I know I can outline my ideas. But my mind feels all over the place. Should I let my WIP sit longer before returning to it? Some experts says wait at least 6 weeks. It's only been two and a half weeks for me. In the meantime, I'm working on synopses for my next WIP and am using a different approach to producing it since the one I've been working on for years is taking forever. But even with the next project, I get plotter's block at times.

Perhaps it would help to organize around some concept that works for you, like journey or character change.
 

Lee Messer

Senior Member
It's a process that is not always necessary, but when I have to for conciseness:

I separate what I want from what I don't.
I keep the the stuff I don't in a separate file in case I change my mind.
I try to polish what I have, and then I double check what was thrown away to see if I still need it.

Do I need it?
 

vranger

Staff member
Supervisor
Here's a different take on the problem. You mentioned you wrote the first draft years ago, and it has been through many revision cycles. You may now simply be churning ideas to no effect, because most writers finish and suddenly get paranoid it's not "good enough".

Wait a few days, then just read it like someone else wrote it. Forget you wrote it. Once you've read it, did you enjoy it?

If you did, you're done. Then just make sure the proofreading is comprehensive and start on something new.

And if it isn't perfect, if it isn't great, that's not a problem. It's experience. You'll learn from it for your next project.
 
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