Friday, December 9, 2011
A Long and Winding Road . . . Gets Me Lost
By Peg Brantley, Writer at Work, Stumbling Toward Publication
I need help.
There must be some fabulous, fool-proof (and I mean that literally) method to keep details straight. Something even those of us who are technically challenged can use.
My main characters are fine. We've been living together for so long I know their idiosyncrasies and habits well. But minor characters? Even in real life, I have trouble remembering people's names. Let alone some walk-on who insists on being referenced again ninety-seven pages later.
What about those loose threads? Those little bits of information I introduced to later feed into something bigger and um . . . where are they? what were they?
I have folders. They're pretty (I buy the printed ones at the office supply store—a different design for each manuscript). They're also closed unless it's a research item, or a character study.
I have a spiral notebook. Somewhere. And while it might have some information in it, I can't count on it to be thorough. Because I'm not even quite sure where it is. And whether or not I actually took the time to write down what I'm looking for at this moment.
Stickies? Where would I stick them? Eventually my computer screen would be covered, and then it really would be a hit and miss proposition.
And unless someone wants to come and sit down with me to teach me Excel, I'm not inclined to spend much time inside the big green "X" icon. I have enough trouble with the address list I keep in it somewhere. It frustrates me beyond belief.
There's probably something cool in Scrivener for this. If so, please tell me where it is and how to use it.
Is that what edits are for?
It could also be that I'm at that place with this manuscript where it's all suddenly become a muddle and I'm convinced it's a mess and hopeless and what in the world have I barfed up?
Seriously, smart and organized writers . . . how do you keep things straight?