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Getting Organized: Settings

This is the fourth in a series of blogs about getting organized so I can finish two projects I have completed first drafts for (one a novella, one a full-length novel).
Wondering about the origins of this series? Read this blog: Getting Organized.
Other Parts: Tracking Characters, Plot Monster One & Two

This week: Settings

I know that my set-up last week for settings was pretty awful, but getting my settings organized was pretty painless - which was a HUGE blessing because this week has involved a lot of poking, prodding, and general discomfort for me personally.
This week's process also took a huge step away from sticky notes and notebook paper, and into the realm of index cards.

Here's What I Did...
First, I went back to the outlines to see what settings appeared in which part.
I wrote each one down on a separate index card, using a different colored ink pen for each one.
Then I noted on each card which part(s) of the story each setting was mentioned in.
If you want to get super-organized and use different colored index cards based on a system of your choosing, feel free.
I used 3"x5" white index cards because it's what I had on-hand, and they're incredibly cheap to buy.

My next step was to go back to the parts each setting is mentioned in and write down descriptions based on what I wrote in the story.
This included objects in the room, distance between objects, and the room's location within the building.
Whatever details you pick up on as you read through again should be fair game.

After that, I scanned each notecard into a .pdf file - three to a page.
Depending on the size you pick and the scanner you have, you might be able to do more or less.

Finally, I bought a notecard holder for the setting cards.
It has dividers, which will come in handy for storing the setting cards for later drafts.
You don't have to do anymore than wrap a rubber band around them - I just thought the dividers were neat.

Thoughts On The Process:

Like I said, this week was pretty painful for me personally, so it was a breath of fresh air to have a simple task for this week's blog post.
Additionally, I saved myself a lot of time by both noting the settings in the outline and making the setting cards as I wrote the outline.
All I had to do after that was look up the settings in each part and write the descriptions down from there.

Along the way, I noticed some of my settings were rich with detail, while others relied heavily on the reader using his/her imagination to fill in the blanks.
I also noticed that the settings rich in detail were the settings where the largest moments in my plotlines occured.
I wonder what that says about my view of settings in general - hmm...

As far as the scanning goes - I was really excited to do that this week.
When you're marking 8-1/2" x 11" pages with sticky notes in such a way that the notes are semi-visible, and the largest piece of paper your scanner is built to scan is 8-1/2" x 11", it's harder to scan.
If your scanner will take 11" x 17", then I recommend scanning EVERYTHING as you go along.
I'm really looking forward to using the scanner more as this progresses.

So, what is on tap for next week?
We'll be venturing back in character territory next week, with character bios.
I can't wait - can you?


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