O is for Odds & Ends

There’s something really satisfying about a book that ties up all of its loose ends. A book that has threads going in forty different directions, but somehow they all meet up again, just in time for a denouement (you remember denouement from “J is for Jargon”, I hope!), leaves me with such a feeling of contentment that I’m practically cuddling the book by the end (The False Prince comes to mind, just from this year).

Of course, those threads (which I’ll be going into later, in an upcoming A-Z post) are really hard to fully manage, especially when you start getting into the overly involved worlds of genre fiction. Copious notes are required, and several eyes that don’t remember the whole story like you do. Even experienced writers have to be careful… just look at these plots notes taken by James Southall Wilson of the Virginia Quarterly Review and J K Rowling, of Harry Potter (which need not be mentioned, I know, but I like my sentences to be balanced, okay?)

I feel more like Wilson than Rowling. Despite my best attempts to make something organized, the moment there is space on the page, or it seems to flow too well, my brain decides to add another layer, another theme, because it doesn’t seem ‘complicated’ enough for a fantasy epic. I think this is compounded by the fact that I have been developing and ‘playing’ around with these characters casually for almost four years, and am only now translating their story to paper. In some cases, the characters in my casual universe are already dead, and I’m having to go back to the beginning. My brain rebels quite a bit to that.

And then there’s the time paradoxes that result from altering even that tiniest thing in their past, but I won’t get into that today, haha.

How do you keep track of all of your odds and ends? I use Scrivener and a binder that is thoroughly color-coordinated. Highlighters and colored pens also are important.

Tomorrow: P is for Psychology!

14 thoughts on “O is for Odds & Ends

  1. VicciScrunchie says:

    I can SO relate to this! You look so organised it’s amazing. I have scrivener, word files, scrapbooks, notebooks, and a total mess in my brain! Time travel is the hardest thing to write! x


  2. Marlene says:

    Wow. I’m very low tech. I keep open a notes doc or a running “what’s coming up or needs to be remembered” page at the bottom of my ms. I do have a 5 book series, which would fall along the lines of Piers Anthony’s Incarnations of Immortality. I’m nowhere near that clever, but I’m thinking I should get a little more organized before starting.
    Marlene at On Writing and Riding


  3. Virginia Ballesty says:

    I use Scrivner, but I’m also playing around with a snowflake outline. I’m still in the planning stages of the novel, but it’s helping me build out the plot a lot – and then once I start writing I can update/make changes to it as I go.


  4. Allison Forsythe says:

    I don’t even keep notes! *looks guilty* I’ve heard that Scrivener is super, though…and I DO like colour coding things…so maybe I should start!


  5. Stephanie Scott says:

    I use Scrivener and a notebook. I do not have color tabs but I do have those little stick on flags that I use sometimes. I try any method of story organization to see if it sticks!

    Hope you are enjoying the A to Z Challenge. Here’s my post for today on Memorable Characters.


  6. hannahgivens says:

    I have that same problem that I’ve been “writing” these characters in my head for years, so now I get turned around while trying to actually organize the plot. I’m using a tri-fold display board divided into story sections, with post-it notes in the appropriate areas. (Pics in my monthly novel updates on my blog, for those interested. πŸ™‚ ) I also have a notebook and a folder full of general ideas and impressions of arcs.


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