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NaNoWriMo Prep. – The Project Book

Tuesday, 19 October 2010  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

Okay, so coffee this morning is Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks. It’s so yummy that I think the cute nerdy guy with the wide grin behind the counter forgot to make it skinny. Anyway, I’m getting a lot of disdainful glances today. Probably because I’m wearing a track suit and everyone else is in business attire. I know those sidelong looks are because they wish they could be wearing their sweats, kicking back, drinking coffee, and staring at their computers at Starbucks, just like me. 

Anywho, I just finished my preparation work for NaNoWriMo. This is my character/setting note book that I prepared for my new project.

I don’t like to use a large notebook or a character board. I’m sort of OCD and I like all my notebooks to be the same. I hate putting things on my computer (cause you never know). In the first part of the notebook, I tape pictures of people who resemble my characters and then I write a biography for each. Like this …

Next I attach pictures of every setting I’m going to use in the story and make notes on each location. Like this…

and this …

Then I just add other stuff that will inspire me during my writing. Like, how a group of kids look together. A teapot. A tree. A tradition. Or a fashion. Any random thing that I’ll need to see because I’m not familiar with it.

The final part of the book is for my outline. I usually fill in scenes on several sheets of this …

I cut them out and arrange them as they would come in my story and then tape them in order in my project book right after all the pictures. This is what I’ll work with while writing to keep myself on track.

So, that’s what I’ve done. I have one for every story I’ve written. Then, when I’ve finished writing and revising my story, I download the word document to a disk, slip the disk in the pocket divider of the project notebook, and file it in my writing box.

What neat preparations do you do to prepare for your new project? 

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Filed: Misc

  • Wow. Well, aren’t you a good little writer. 🙂 and I thought I was organized. I think I learn some things for you!
    Good luck with NaNo!!

  • Danielle says:

    I am so impressed! You did a lot of work! I’m not doing NaNo but I wish I could be as organized as you. All the stuff in your notebook I just leave rattling around in my head.

  • Meredith says:

    That project book is so cool–I’m definitely stealing that idea! I always write character profiles on the computer, but having pictures like that would be so useful. Have fun in Starbucks!

  • Amos Keppler says:

    What’s the point of NaNoWriMo? I will never understand it. 🙂

  • Jodi Henry says:

    Wow. That’s organized.

    I, on the other hand, am totally not. Characters build themselves in my head. I leave them there with hopes that they’ll start talking to one another and maybe make a date with a plot. When that happens, I outline and then write. But even this outlining thing is new to me. Its working out well enough that I think I’ll keep doing it. Maybe one day I will be as organized as you.

    But then my husband will probably think aliens abducted his wife and left him with a less crazy person to deal with 🙂

    I am NaNo-ing too. Good luck.


  • Melissa says:

    Wow. Your book is gorgeous. It makes me lament the fact that I am far too unorganized and scatter-brained to do something like that.

    Please excuse me while I stare awed at you! (through the computer and vast distance between us)

  • I loved seeing your process! So cool! And I have the identical notebook right here on my desk. Funny, right? But mine’s blank. Hey, maybe I’ll use it on my next new project with your inspiring post to guide me. Thanks!!

    Good luck in NaNo!

  • I’m envious of your nice handwriting. There is a reason I type it all out lol.

    Yeah for NaNo! I’m diving in also!

  • Christopher says:

    You are so organized! I never realized how unorganized I am with my writing, I think I might give that a try.

  • Wow! SO organized. I have a file folder on my computer with the title and then a gazillion files in that. Great idea! I might have to try that!

  • Brenda Drake says:

    You all are so kind. I only recently got organized. Before, I was a complete mess and that probably explains why my word count was always too high. I think everyone works differently. I have to have a clear goal in my mind or else I’m all ADD and can’t focus. As far as penmanship goes, I had to work really hard to write legible. Usually, I can’t even read my own writing.

  • Jamie says:

    I am SOO stealing your notebook idea…that is awesome! Thanks for posting photos. That looks like such a cool idea that would undoubtedly inspire you to write!

  • Plotter alert! someone call the pantser cops. This is so neat I am almost jealous, I wish I could work like this wow am impressed

  • AchingHope says:

    Wow… That is amazing! I totally need to start doing that. Except, I still haven’t decided what story to do for NaNo yet. I’ll probably decide on Nov 1st.

  • Very interesting! Yes, very OCD and neat. 😉 I like it!!

  • Jeepers, that is so organised!! Not sure I could ever do that (though I would LIKE to be that way) – I’m too impatient to get to my actual story, so planning kind of, um… happens-in-my-head/happens-along-the-way/doesn’t-happen-at-all!

    Well done 🙂

  • MT says:

    I like reading about other writer’s organizational methods – it gives me ideas and I usually end up incorporating some part of it into what I do (just to give it a try). Have a great weekend!

  • I really like your notebook idea! I am giving it a try myself with the next story I am writing! Thanks for sharing.

  • Wow. Now that’s preparedness. I’m a pantser myself. I get the general idea, maybe make a few notes in a separate word document, then I go for it. I’m crazy that way. And I LOVE Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Latte.

  • Erin says:

    I LOVE your notebook!!! I wish I was as creative, organized, and prepared as you are!

    Hope you enjoyed the rest your latte.

  • Kristal Lee says:

    Thanks for the notebook tips! I’ve been trying to use electronic note cards but that isn’t working so well for me. I’ll see how this technique works for me.

  • lsmurphy.com says:

    I feel woefully underprepared for NaNo now. by the way, I added you to my Buddy list so I can track your progress. 🙂
    Good Luck. You are sooooo ready!

  • WritesMyLife says:

    What I used to do prior to getting my own desktop a few years back and now a laptop was fill up notebooks with my writing. I didn’t focus on character details or locations but just getting the story from Chapter One to The End.

    However, now, I just type everything on the computer. I have had issues of writing stuff on loose leaf paper (I do this with my architecture projects as well)–always keep a pen and blank paper handy (:

    In order to not wonder where the h— that one writing piece I wrote X amount of hrs/days/wks/mths/yrs ago, everything is typed up and sent to several different email accounts as well as backed up on my external hard drive (gift from ex-manager)–AWESOME for all types of projects!!

    Nowadays I simply think about what I want to add to a story and picture in my head how I want it to go as well as some of the dialogue and later on will type it up (something I did just today and am in the process of piecing together)..

  • Brenda Drake says:

    I’m glad everyone likes the note book. I have to have mine open while I’m writing, it’s really inspiring.

    WritesMyLife: I do keep things on my computer and backed up on our external hard drive as well. But my one note book, I haven’t been able to give up. During the process of cutting and pasting and jotting down stats some wonderful ideas come to me. And instead of having multiple windows open on my laptop, I have my note book when I’m at a coffee house, park, or someplace like that to remind me about the little details of my characters and setting.

  • Morgan Lee says:

    I gotta say I’m very impressed. You’re so organized! Not surprised after reading the tidbit of your novel, Library jumpers. It is well written with great skill and very well paced. 🙂

  • Su says:

    What a great idea. I may try that!

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