Achievement Unlocked

Last night I realized that I need to start making notes.

I know, most writers figure this out before they are a quarter of a way into their third novel, but I’m a little slow.  Partially it’s that my books are getting bigger in scope.  Catskinner’s Book only had a handful of characters.  Cannibal Hearts introduced quite a few more.  In Worms Of Heaven I am creating even more, and bringing up a few walk-ons from the prior two into the limelight.

My practice, prior to now, has been to stop when I needed a bit of information and page back through my earlier manuscript until I found it.  I’m good at remembering what I wrote in a particular scene, so I can usually find it pretty quickly.  However, it does get time consuming, and last I decided that I needed to just go ahead and make a spreadsheet for my characters with their full names, nicknames, species if other than human, significant life events, and so on.

Today I’m going on a road trip with my roommate, so I’ll be bringing my Kindle and a pad of paper and work on notes, then put them into a spreadsheet when I get home.

It’s funny how this makes me feel.  It feels like cheating, like I don’t care enough about the people that I’ve made to remember everything about them.  I’ve always tried to keep in mind that everyone in a story is potentially the main character, and to craft fully formed people instead of placeholders.

Still, flesh is weak.  I’ve always had a good memory, and I studied mnemonic techniques to improve it. I want to have a perfect memory, but I don’t.  It’s good enough to make me a brutal trivia contender, but I do forget things, and having to take the time to hunt through my books to find a detail is becoming arduous.

I suppose I could look at it as growth as a writer.  Becoming more adult, not to mention having what I ironically refer to as “a body of work”.  Still, it feels as if I am losing something, a certain spontaneity.  I never really planned any of my writing, I just kind of let James sit down and tell his story.

It will speed up my process, though, and is going to prove absolutely invaluable if I continue writing in this universe.

About MishaBurnett

I am the author of "Catskinner's Book", a science fiction novel available on Amazon Kindle.
This entry was posted in Cannibal Hearts, On Writing, Worms Of Heaven and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Achievement Unlocked

  1. Sue says:

    My problem is my note taking uses pages and pages and then I have to find what I want. Good thing for search. A friend uses a bulletin to pin up her notes. Enjoy the trip Beautiful weather here but I am staying home to work and fight a cold

  2. kingmidget says:

    It’s right around when I feel the need to start making notes to keep track of things that I start feeling like the story has become too big for me to tell. And that’s why I still have several half completed novels that I can’t find a way to get back into.

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