Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Writing scrapbooks

For each novel I've written, I have a scrapbook. In fact, for several books I have more than one! In these scrapbooks, I keep initial thoughts, plot outlines, notes developing the plot, notes on each character, notes on each scene before it gets written, notes for when I'm editing... it's great fun looking back through them and if I ever feel unsure about what I'm writing, or uninspired, all I need to do is flip through them to get enthused or for the ideas to start flowing again.

sample page from a notebook
(absolutely no copyright infringement intended!)
They're mostly A4 in size, though recently I've had a bit of a shift towards B5 size (especially for using in my writing folder) and often lined, though a couple are plain. The best bit about them are the pictures and drawings. The notebooks genuinely are scrapbooks! As well as all the notes, there are pictures pasted in from magazines of interiors - how I imagine the characters' houses look. As you can see in the picture at the side, I have an image of what a bedroom looks like (and also an image of what a character might be wearing).

I've also added in property schedules sometimes - it can be very inspiring to do a search on the property websites, looking for the kind of house you imagine the characters to live in (or aspire to), even if the only thing that really makes it into a book is the layout of the place.

I also draw in the books. I (amazingly) have an 'O' level in art and used to enjoy sketching, so there are sketches of layouts/items/locations etc. in the notebooks. There are also drawings of costumes. I'm not great at drawing people (at least, not with faces - I'm quite good at drawing the rest!) and so there are also pictures of people pasted in - usually actors or people from clothing catalogues. Clothing catalogues can be a great resource not just for what the people look like but for outfits - what the characters might wear (even if they don't look like the models).

I'm trying to make a note of what music I've been listening to for each book too. Listening to the music again is one of the quickest ways to get me back into a book if I've been away from it for any time - but I'm not good at noting it down at the time.

These notebooks will make almost no sense to most people, but to me, they are an inherent part of the process of writing a book and something I cherish.


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