with invaluable suggestions by herowlness
Every writer needs some kind of organization to be successful. Just as there are a million ideas in the world, there are also a million different ways to organize yourself. Some writers are lucky enough to have story ideas pop into their minds complete. Others have a scene or the niggling of an idea and have to flesh it out as they go along. In either case there are several decisions that every writer needs to make in regards to their piece and that is to decide on plot, setting, time, characters, point of view and tone. Plot
– What is your story about? Is it a love story, a mystery or just good old fashion smut? Having at least a broad idea of where you are going is important to keeping you on track.Setting
– Where will your story take place? Is it in Neptune or somewhere else? Part of creating a believable story is to make the setting an integral part of it. Time
- What time is your piece set in? Is this a future fic, a flashback fic or set during a specific episode? When the piece takes place can affect relationships and other characterization details. It can also affect the tense of the piece. It is important that you match your tense with the action of your piece or readers will be lost. Characters
– Who will be making an appearance in your opus? Will you be using established characters, or be adding an original character, or ten, to the mix? Are you following cannon or setting the piece in an alternate universe to make specific changes?Point of View
– Who is telling the story? Will there be a narrator, or will the piece be omniscient? Will it be first, second or third person?Tone
– What is the tone of the piece going to be? It is going to be dark, light, serious, funny, arch or sarcastic? It can be a combination of them all, just remember to keep the characterization constant.
All of these decisions don’t have to be set in stone. Just thinking about them before starting can be enough for short pieces, especially if you do not have the whole thing plotted out in your head. If you are writing an epic or an intricate mystery plot, making notes of key plot points is essential.
One idea is to keep an outline of what has happened and what will happen. It can be just a few words, or a more fleshed out version of each section of the piece. This gives you a brief reminder of what you have written so that you don’t repeat yourself, and also allows you to plant hints of where you are going. Note cards also can be used. This allows you the flexibility to “shuffle” plot points and to lay them out in different patterns if you are uncertain of where you want to go.
Which ever method you use for organization, the goal is to improve your writing by making it clearer and easier for your reader to get wrapped up in the story you are telling without being distracted by jarring POV switches and tense changes. Even if you are one of the lucky writers who can keep a clear path in your head, I suggest that ever writer have a beta, or three. Someone else to read your work is invaluable before you post it. They can catch characterization, canon, grammar and continuity errors and those pesky typos that are there no matter how often you read the piece. So the best suggestion I have to stay organized is get a beta, but don’t forget the other stuff I listed as well.
Is there a tip that you think might help other writer’s with their organization and is not covered here? Please feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments, as various techniques work best for different authors.