Hi, fellow writers. I’m doing NaNoWriMo this month, so I imagine I’ll not be as prolific on the blogging front. However, I had to share this new system I tripped over while I was getting started on the novel for NaNo (my own abbreviation).
The whole idea of NaNo is to write 50,000 words of a novel without stopping to edit - just dump it on the page. Well, that’s a great idea and very close to my own method anyway, but this time I’m writing a thriller, which takes a lot more research and, frankly, getting it right, than my previous works. So, as I’m writing there are lots of questions that need answering arising.
What to do without breaking the flow? Well, for about ten years I’ve kept an Excel spreadsheet with plot points that need to be inserted or questions that need to be answered with a page number next to the question. Then when editing I’d work off that spreadsheet, making sure to edit or add where needed. One of the problems I’d experienced with this is that the page numbers often changed and then finding the right spot was a bummer.
This time, I’m inserting an asterisk followed by a number that corresponds with the line on Excel. So I match the line number on the spreadsheet where I’ve entered the comment about what I need to do with the number I’ve inserted into the body of my story. Easy peasy. I’ve made the appropriate note. I can take care of it later by simply doing a search of the document for the number (*7 for example) and off I go with writing without getting stuck on some plot point or detail that will take some time to figure out. I’m saving all that for the first edit of the first draft.
I personally love Excel anyway, but it’s one of the most useful things I’ve ever come across for managing my writing…and my life.
I hope this helps someone else out there keep the words flowing.