I Do and I Don’t

This week we’re talking about using notes. Well, I do and I don’t. I bought myself a nice appointment book, and I write down everything there. I do a schedule for my blog posts, doctor visits, outings with friends, etc. If it isn’t in the book, it probably won’t get done. Years ago I could keep a mental list and all was well, but as I’ve gotten older I need a little help keeping up with things. My husband tells me to use the planner on my phone, but by the time he can pull it up, I’ve already opened my book and found what I wanted. Yeah, I guess I’m a little old-fashioned that way, but it does work for me.

What about using notes as I write? This is going to be a fairly short paragraph because the truth is, I don’t usually take any notes. Before I begin writing I see my characters in my mind. I know what they look like and how they feel about the world in general. I name them based on the way I see them in my head so I’m never confused about how they look. I know where I want my story to begin and where I want it to end up, and then I just start writing. Different scenes come to me as I’m writing. As I said, I know where I want to end up, and all I have to do is figure out how to get there.

Would taking notes help? I don’t know. I thought I might try it sometime and see if it made my work better. I could have one of those enormous charts I’ve seen other writers use, full of descriptions, details, and plot summaries. The one thing that worries me about doing that is that I like for my characters to drive the story and take me where they want to go. If it was all written down I wonder if I’d lose some spontaneity.

Authors, what about you? Do you fly by the seat of your pants like I do, or are you a little more organized?

About Elaine Cantrell

Elaine Cantrell was born and raised in South Carolina. She has a Master’s Degree in Personnel Services from Clemson University and is a member of Alpha Delta Kappa, an international honorary sorority for women educators. She is also a member of Romance Writers of America. Her first novel A New Leaf was the 2003 winner of the Timeless Love Contest and was published in 2004 by Oak Tree Press. When she isn't writing you can find Elaine playing with her dog or maybe collecting more vintage Christmas ornaments
This entry was posted in author's life, Elaine Cantrell, Miscellaneous, Preparing for writing, writing. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to I Do and I Don’t

  1. I actually meant this to ask if notes helped in their writing, and whatever works for you in yours, Elaine, go for it. So many don’t even know where to start.
    I don’t make a lot of notes, but sometimes I think of an edit, or my conscious figures out why my subconscious came up with a subplot or point and then I come up with a tie-in. so notes it is.
    More often than not, though, once I put fingers to keyboard, the story and characters take over. It’s almost frightening, but those who have storyboards and a thousand post-it notes on their walls are way on the opposite side of writing from me. But as I said, whatever works for a person.

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  2. Jeff Salter says:

    Elaine, I think I’m much more of a Pants-ter than a plotter… so (like you) I tend to feel notes may add a sense of restrictiveness to my stories. Or… maybe I’m just too lazy to expend the concentration and effort to do all those charts.
    Between now and Hound Day (tomorrow), I guess I’ll figure out where I stand.

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  3. Patricia Kiyono says:

    I wish I knew my characters better before I start writing about them. Even though I plan out my plot, I have to really “talk” to them, and sometimes I’m several thousand words into the story before I truly understand them and their reasons for doing the things they do.

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