Monday, October 25, 2010

Cheap Notebooks, I Love You

Tip of the Day: Halloween is this Sunday. This is the first year I haven't had time to make ghost lollipops, so someone do it for me, please.

So over the weekend, I went to one of those "wait while they change your oil" places. I love those places because I get some time to myself. I bring a notebook and a pen and plan my heart out.

I have a few projects going, so I wrote the name of each project (or at least it's working name) at the top of a page and started freewriting. One of the projects grabbed me so much, I had pages and pages filled up. Now I know what to concentrate on.

This is how I outline. Somehow all my outlines end up in handwritten chunks, like a synopsis gone wild in a blender. Then as I go back and plant things in earlier chapters, my outlines bristle with carets. One thing is for sure: nobody could read one of my outlines but me.

But as a sample, here's the handwritten outline for the chapter I'm writing:

more Mr. Freed--looking nauseous. CIA, David, can you believe it? next CIA John Smith, smiles a lot, nurses + parents chase them out, more Stephen, 1st impression from Paul
Jake comes in + turns off radio. S's neighbor. Volunteering for Superintendants Award. mention Duncan? ---> Who checks after Paul?

There, doesn't that make total sense? But I'd be totally lost without it, and somehow, almost every novel I write ends up coming from this cloud of handwritten words.

-- Kate, Miss Perfecting the Pages


Anonymous said...

I do this too! Completely random notes with arrows and stars. It is the same way I took notes when I was in school. No one could every copy them, it's like code.

DeenaML said...

Yes! I remember what I wrote as long as it's within like a week..... :)

Christina Farley said...

It does! When I write, I've got all kinds of sticky notes EVERYWHERE around my desk. It looks insane.