Reply To: How Do You Organize Your Writing?

Forums Fiction General Writing Discussions How Do You Organize Your Writing? Reply To: How Do You Organize Your Writing?

Brian Stansell


Good evening Bethania!

Organization…well, it really depends on the story for me.  There were some that I just had to slog through, one or two had an outline and some just were chasing an idea and an intriguing set of questions.
For the initial draft of a story it has to be just sitting down and writing and thinking about interesting questions related to the 5 W’s + H (Who, What, When, Where, Why and How?).  I find it most helpful to start with a Theme, a vital important question that is not limited to the story itself, but that is connected to a real life issue or misconception that must be clarified and aligned to a supernatural or spiritual truth.  The bible talks about taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and of casting down everything that exalts itself against God.  This exercise creates the central tension of every one of the story’s I’ve written that has any meaning in them.  Look in the scriptures for a central passage that encapsulates your true message and build out from that core value.  Ask questions around it. As it of the peoples and creatures that you want to inhabit your story. As it of the MC and reluctant hero, ask it of the villains and those who might impede or mislead the hero.  Find out what their motivations are around the central issue and then ask yourself why they have arrived at the conclusions they either have reached or will reach.  Think of this central column that runs through the core of your story like the spine of it.  Everything else will in some way attach to that central spine, but articulate in their own fashion from it.

Organize your character in groups of the most prominent character, the heroes, the villains, the henchmen, the supporting characters who will help the hero, the neutral character who may just bumble through and get in the way, the well-meaning Job’s friends types who end up antagonizing the MC or their company of heroes.

Find sketches and pictures that might align to what you think they might be like.  Think about their backgrounds, their culture, their family situation, their heroes and enemies, failures and triumphs, preferences, personalities, quirks and go to peculiarities of their language and speech patterns.  Then their appearance and habits.
Scrivner is a good organizing software that runs about $40 if you need something to capture and build these things with structure.  Otherwise use folder systems to collect data in groups.
Then you might think of the places in the story and build out category folders for that, and explore images of landscapes to give you a sense of it. Pixabay is a good free resource for images.

Brian Stansell (aka O'Brian of the Surface World)
I was born in war.
Fighting from my first breath.

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