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How to organize all my writing pages!

by Chiara
(Toronto)

As I write, more of my story is revealed. How do I pick a direction or explore a new direction without getting lost?

Also, I'm having trouble keeping all my chapters and scenes in my head let alone putting them all in the right order. Any advice?

Thanks so much and I really appreciate your advice on this site!

ANSWER

Hi Chiara. To organize a novel as it builds, I create a scene chart in Word or Excel. Basically it's just a list with whatever specific information I want to record. Mine have contained the following information:

Chapter, Scene, Page number, length of scene
Scene Action
Setting
Who Wants What?
Complications
Disaster

This keeps me focused and reminds me to create fully developed scenes. It also allows me to see at a glance what scenes I have, which helps me see which ones I still need.

I also create another sheet that records items I need to remember. This was especially important when I was writing Madame Zee, as I had to keep a lot of dates straight. I included the year characters were born, marriages, names of characters, personality quirks, and anything I found myself needing to know.