Monday, June 21, 2010

Novel Log

When I was a teenage writer, I filled piles of notebooks. Not only journals--random plot ideas, possible character names, odd news stories. They never became coherent projects, however. Too much chaos.

But when I became a woman, I put childish ways behind me, and opened a private blog specifically devoted to my work in progress. Yes, someone could probably hack into it and scoop the Great American Novel while I watched helplessly from my living room sofa, but as an unpublished scribbler, the benefits outweighed the risks.

I can maintain a pretty, search-able notebook from any location in the world, with each new idea dutifully dated and filed, a sidebar full of research titles, helpful links... If nothing else, a novel log motivates me to keep my project alive.

Posts range from thinking out loud--

"So Magtel goes off in search of Jantina. Do the boys know of their mother's treachery? They must. They heard from the tower. How much do they care for their step-sister? What are their plans when they fly out? They are still children, remember. Is there another character that provides additional emotions/motives that I am missing?"

to notes gleaned from other blogs and writers--

"Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak... the Hero’s Journey.

1) The Ordinary World. Max dons his trusty wolf suit and gets into trouble
2) The Call to Adventure.Max is sent to his room, where a forest appears
3) Refusal of the Call. But Max doesn't do anything until it grows even more
4) Mentor. Whoever sent the boat...
5) Crossing the First Threshold. Max sails away in that private boat that shows up
6) Tests, Allies and Enemies. Max sails for over a year
7) Approach to the Inmost Cave. The most dangerous place in the Story World. Max arrives where those scary wild things live
8) The Ordeal. And they do their level best to scare the bejeezus out of him. But he stands up to them, see…and stares them down.
9) Seizing the sword. The hero often receives some reward for surviving. And the Wild things make him their king.—the most wild thing of all.
10) The Road Back. The hero must deal with the consequences of all that he/she has done in order to gain the reward. And now the real rumpus starts!
11) Resurrection. This is the second Ordeal, the final confrontation. Then Max, grown lonely and homesick, stands up to them and makes them stop. Not only that, he punishes them--just as he was punished.
12) Return With the Reward. Then a wiser and calmer Max arrives back in his room and found his supper waiting for him.

to photos to quotes to maps and outlines.

So--how do you keep your WIP together?