Writing Project #2: Writer’s Reference and Tools of the Trade (on the craft of writing)
Tenses changes! POV shifts! Dialogue stiff and unnatural! Data dumping! All comments voiced about my writing during a year of novel-writing critiques. Ouch! I consistently switched from past to present in my tenses in the same sentence or same paragraph. I became insecure about my mastery of the English language. This drove me to upgrade my writing skills and revisit grammar. Three binders later, I still make some of the same mistakes but less often. The upside, I have easy-to-reach reference materials. Here’s a sampling of what’s contained in each.
BINDER #1: Setting Up a Writing Notebook
- Order (Calendar, Chronology, Titles, Theme/Situation, To Be Checked, Additional, Research, Bibliography)
- Reference (Glossary of Terms, Writing Tips(Suspense, Mystery)
BINDER #2 Tools for Writing
- Tools: Story (Names Reference, Diary, Ideas)
- Tools: Character (anatomy, behavior, sample sketches, trait adjectives, trait people, types, Vice Virtues Motivation, Personality, Checklist for major/minor characters)
- Tools: Plot (cliché plots, ideas for story conflict, legend/myth, conflict, Aristotelian checklist)
- Tools: Story Craft (Suspense Tips, Mystery Tips, Improve Your Writing, Simile & Metaphor examples, Action Verbs, Onomatopoeia Words)
- Tools: Reference (words for weather, landscape)
- Writer: Tools (Writing the novel, Guide to Writing)
BINDER #3: English Grammar/Sentence Structure
- Tense Chart/Worksheets
- Good Beginnings
- Tools: Improve Your Writing(Adding Action and Clarity to Writing, Active Verbs)
- Tools: Sentences for Great Writing
- Tools: Charts and Examples for Figurative Writing (Personification, Simile, Metaphor, Hyperbole, Alliteration, etc.)
Great research, great tools, great reference BUT how functional has it been for me? The Writing Notebook provides an organized way of managing a novel, but my ideas grow organically. In the past, I tried to be organized too soon in the writing process. What works for me is a bound, blank paper, 8.5 x 11 Journal. I begin with lists of words, symbolism, and description trying to get at the heart of the writing. Ideas grow. I draw pictures, timelines, graphs, whatever pops into my head. Eventually, sentences begin to form, maybe a whole paragraph comes out. And so on…
About The Tools of the Trade Binder: this is a great resource. But again, on a basic level I am still trying to clarify a particular character in my mind, and I fail to use the tools I have developed. Binder #3 is still under development. I want it to contain easy-to-use charts for the writer-on-the-run.
I have started a Binder #4 after being inspired by the Writing Notebook Post I read at blog site www.cbwentworth.wordpress.com . She creates a magazine picture notebook of what her character looks like, clothes he wears, home, office, items he owns. What a fantastic visual way of making a character vivid! Right now, Binder #4 consists of pictures in a box but it’s a start.
Ok, happy writing. Hope some of this helps.