Monday, June 13, 2011

Writing--how I stay relatively organized

Whenever I work on a story I collect all my notes and pictures for that story (copious and eclectic) and store them in an IKEA box. These boxes sit on top of my desk/cupboard and I pull them down and put them up as I switch from one story to another. I have a tiny workspace (yes, that's it below!) and this is the only way I can manage to keep the information together and yet for it still to be instantly accessible.
See--there's a box missing. That's my WIP and it is down on the ground beside me.

Sometimes I have more than one story per box. HER SANCTUARY also contains all my notes for the unpublished sequel BLADE HUNTER (I guess I should sub that baby, huh?). STORM WARNING shares a box with SEA OF SUSPICION full of Scottish research booklets, pictures and memorabilia. I have a box for Harlequin Intrigue (still waiting to sell one of those babies so keep your fingers crossed for me please). I have another PRESENTS box. I tried and failed to write a Harlequin Presents. Actually I really like the premise of that story too.

The box for EDGE OF SURVIVAL is full of stuff I collected on that long ago field assignment and copies of emails from my various 'sources'. I swear I did more research for that, even though I'd did the fish study, than I've done for anything.

So, there's a fascinating look into how I keep all my junk pieces of paper in order. Don't say I never give you the inside scoop.


  1. Oh this is awesome! I often wonder about writers and how they organize and such.

    I always wonder how a story unfolds too.

    I have never been interested in the writing process until I went back to school. I have found I love writing and often wonder how you pro's go about it. :-) and ummm a sequel to HER SANCTUARY? HELLO get that puppy out there ;-) LOL

  2. You know, I really like that box idea. I tend to use steno books - lots and lots of steno books, but I just grab whichever one is handy and write notes in it. Which means that I can't find the notes I want for the story I'm writing when I want to write it. Hmmm...perhaps a trip to IKEA in my future? Oh, twist my arm! LOLOL :D

  3. Doris, BLADE HUNTER was contracted with Triskellion before they went BOOM. When I resold HER SANCTUARY to THE WILD ROSE PRESS I knew there were things in the second book they might not like. So I've sat on it. I intend to dust it off over the summer and submit it though. Other people organize in other ways. This works for me :)

  4. Betsy, the thing about the box (for me) is I can keep everything from shells, to books, to scents, to dried flowers, to notes. I also have cards which I clip together and put inside. Plus I'm always cutting out pictures from magazines. IKEA is coming here in the next few years and I hope I need many more boxes :)

  5. I use boxes too. And notepads. And pretty coloured files. My problem is, I sometimes - dare I say it? - shove things in the wrong box. My filing's a mess. :)