No matter the genre, breadth of a particular storyline or enormous brain capacity of the author, notes and outlines help keep it all straight, so nothing gets missed.
This will be a departure from my more verbose posts and may put some to sleep; however, the importance of taking detailed notes to avoid establishing inconsistencies in a story cannot be stressed enough. Outlines for chapters and an overall story are a bit more specific but achieve the same outcome.
When I first started writing around the age of 12, it was before the time of the internet and mobile media. Notebook paper and a pencil were my iPad while a thoroughly wore out dictionary was my Google search engine for proper spelling and word usage. The amount of information available to us today through the plethora of electronic devices is astounding, which is why I have no time for those who cannot be bothered to ensure their grammar and spelling are correct. I know it may sound overly critical, but I assure you it is not.
Once I began creating the initial foundation of The Sy’Arrian Legacy, I quickly discovered relying on my brain to keep track of all the finer details; political ideologies, religions, character specifics, and historical timelines was too much to ask. Not to mention how the creative process tends to spark when you least expect it and in some very interesting places.
I have been in the shower thinking of absolutely nothing when my mind will suddenly go off on a tangent and by the time I am done, an entire action scene or dialogue exchange between characters has taken place. Walking down the street and taking in the surroundings produces similar results. Bottom line is not to assume creative moments will only spawn when in front of the keyboard or with a writing instrument in hand.
I am not going to tell you what to write down; it will vary and be fairly obvious. What I will say is be prepared. I had two journals when I wrote The Dark Traveler; one for notes relating to the story and another for specifics connected to the overall series. Smaller notepads able to fit into a breast or back pocket work well for those moments when you are away from electronic devices. I usually bring the notebook for my current project to work but if I forget, the Notes app on my smartphone has helped me out many times.
I will touch on outlines in another post, but I will offer a cautionary piece of advice regarding their use. A chapter outline is a wonderful tool designed to focus your attention on what needs to be covered and, hopefully, will aid in maintaining brevity. Be mindful of spending too much time perfecting the correct format. Doing so will take time away from the most important thing – your writing.
Maintaining balance between keeping everything properly organized and bringing your creation to life is obtained through experimentation. Find out what suits your artistic style and stay with it.
Feel free to post your questions, comments or concerns. I will respond, if need be, when I able.