new nano buster … formatting

November 22, 2008 § 8 Comments

I keep losing my place. In the stupid story. 
I’m not sure if I included a certain detail/character. 
Or, what was the name of the heroine’s freckled neighbor who squeezes into his tiny little roadster every morning?

So I did it. I stopped everything and I formatted the manuscript, setting up chapter names in heading 1 styles to automatically create a table of contents.
So I can see what chapters have been written at a glance.
So I can go back and insert something (yeah, I hear you – “don’t go back! don’t go back!)  into a chapter because as I walk around the neighborhood or lie on our bed or do clean up work in the backyard or retrieve just one or two little Xmas things to set out, that’s when little details and ideas pop up that might make the story better.

I see why it takes years to get a novel right. Not just readable, but “right.”

These, now, are baby steps; this draft is so rough it will draw blood.

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§ 8 Responses to new nano buster … formatting

  • nova says:

    I wrote the novel I just finished using chapter titles that may be deleted for the actual book. Having the titles helped me know where I was and what was expected to happen in each chapter. I was getting so lost otherwise!

    “This draft is so rough it will draw blood.” What a perfect line.

  • oh says:

    I am so glad to hear from a pro. I’ve never written a novel before and spurned doing back stories, outline, etc., so doing the table of contents, as I go, is like an outline, in reverse!
    Hope your writing is going swimmingly! (ok, ok, I gotta stop with the exclamation points. geez)

  • Oh gee how organised! I need to do that!

  • qugrainne says:

    I have completely lost the road map. I have little purple and green note cards with snippets everywhere I turn, a note book with paragraphs, and then the main body on my computer. By the time (if) I finish this, it will take me ages to put it all together. I don’t think I like writing this way!
    I did read in someone’s advice before we began that it is good to start with a detailed outline, but at that time I had no idea how this story was going to end…. grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. I am done worrying about dates and word counts and I am simply going to carry on in my own fashion. (Does that sound like I said “uncle”?)
    To really write a book in a month I think I would need bigger blocks of time. This just isn’t working.

  • Kim L says:

    Are you using Word (or similar)? Let me pimp Ywriter for a minute. You write the novel in scenes that can be drag n dropped. You can create character lists, list of objects, places, etc. Free, and created by a nanowrimoer. It has literally SAVED MY LIFE this month more than once.

    this draft is so rough it will draw blood.

    Too true for my draft as well… wandering in all sorts of directions that don’t even make logical sense… dialogue as stiff as a board… similes that will make me cringe when I reread.

  • oh says:

    Scarlet – it was easy to do in Word cuz I use it so much at work and it’s really basic and actually “organziing” goes against my very nature, esp. in terms of this novel race. But you may want to check into Ywriter as Kim L suggests… I had not idea it existed.

    Q – thank you for saying all those things out loud. I’m feeling it – the “drag” on forward motion and whenever I sit down for a minute to do something else or even have conversation, I feel, well, trapped, like “I should be working on the draft.” I’m going to go clean the kitchen and get some perspective.

  • oh says:

    Kim! I had no idea YWriter existed – thanks for the heads up. And I know, I know! The rereading experience will be, well, a whacky experience. Actually, this is a wake up call on time/diligence/thought etc., required.

    And here come the holidays! (and an abundance of other wonderful things that need doing) – yikes!

  • Jeanie says:

    Oh, I’m retrieving the Christmas things too — one or two at a time! Well, I say good for you for going back to organize. How can you be expected to write 50,000 words you can use/deal with later if you can’t figure out where you are, who’s who, and who is driving what! I’m just impressed you’re really pulling this off! Cheers to you and a tip of my snow-covered hat!

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