If you’re like me, you need an intervention. No, not with drugs, alcohol or gambling, organization!
My desk and files are an organizational nightmare! I’m not the most disorganized person I know, but I’m close. Being an author with O.D.D., (Organization Disability Disorder), I’ve come up with a couple very simple tricks.
Since I work on more than one story at a time, I’m juggling characters and story lines. To keep myself straight, especially with minor characters, I keep a three ring binder with sections and tabs for each story. Using the file name from the computer file, I write it on the tab. On one page, I keep a list of characters, all of them, no matter how small a role they play. On another, I keep a list of chapters and their page numbers. It’s very easy to continue writing until a story is complete, but it’s good to give the story some natural stopping or slowing places.
Every author has to do research at some point. Although I bookmark pages on my browser, it’s a horrible mess. Despite my best efforts to do better, it’s still a mile long and a disaster. To combat that, I print out the pages of research that I need, complete with the web address, in case I have to go back. These, I punch and put in another three ring binder. I keep it within reach so that I can find what I need.
I have in mind to tag the pages per story or at least per subject, but I haven’t gotten that far. That’s my goal – though it may be next year before I get it done. These are very easy things for any writer to accomplish. Even for the clinically O.D.D., there is hope!
Below is another way I keep my characters organized. I keep a card file on my desk of all the main characters – and several recurring or important secondary characters. On each card, I do the following:
Book Title: Siblings:
Boy/ Girlfriend: Age:
Family: (cousins, aunts, uncles, cousins) Series: (If applicable)
Also In: (if they are a repeating character)
Friends & Co-Workers:
I also list if the story is finished or unfinished.
Dellani Oakes is a not quite completely crazy author of Indian Summer, Lone Wolf and The Ninja Tattoo. Indian Summer – historical romance and Lone Wolf – futuristic romance are available from Second Wind Publishing. The Ninja Tattoo – contemporary romantic suspense, is available from Tirgearr Publishing.