Writer, Organize Thyself!

So here’s what I’ve been up to the last week or so. I’ve been writing a new action scene- I sent swarms of spiders to attack my sleeping protagonist. Uck, totally.

And I’ve been keeping my New Year’s Resolution, to organize myself.

I decided about a month ago that my novel felt unbalanced. So I decided to add a third POV character, Cloud. Cloud is a servant who witnesses much of my antagonist’s cruelties and manoeuvrings. She is also a mute by choice, having cut off her tongue to hold in her secrets. This is a choice that all of her people have made. It’s a pretty terrible secret. Cloud speaks in sign language, so it’s a fun opportunity for me to approach my sentence constructions in a different way. Right now I do know some of what happens to Cloud, but not everything. I wrote two chapters, but was not sure how to end the second one because I was not sure how many scenes Cloud would even have.  How was I even going to figure out what I was doing? I was stuck. So I busted out the Excel and made this:

No, I did not make a cat. I rescued a kitten, and he grew up into a cat that likes to lay on paper. I tried to explain to him that this photo would not make him internet-famous, but he doesn’t listen to me. Pretty much ever. Here’s a somewhat more useful photo:

So, this is an example timeline. The very first column is just chapter numbers. Any unwritten but planned chapter just gets a blank space. All following columns indicate at least day. Any incongruities in the time line are marked yellow. I also used blue to mark full moons, as they are plot-relevant in my story. You don’t see that here, because this is just a mock-up. Each POV character gets their own tint, so I don’t have to really read it to see what is going on. If you have gotten befuddled with your plot, characters, or timeline and find yourself drowning in post-it notes, yet unable to fix your problems, try charting things out so a different part of your brain can have a look-see. I highly recommend it.

The other thing I am doing to get organized is utilizing my shiny new A Working Writer’s Daily Planner 2010
Every day, I just write what I’ve done, writing-wise, for the day. Of course, the journal has a lot more bells and whistles than just offering a place to be accountable to oneself. Allow the publishers to demonstrate:

In a nutshell, Excel + AWWDP2010 = way more organized than usual.