Ep 21: Organization, and Advice About Advice

We’re joined today by special guest Dan Wells, author of the I Am Not A Serial Killer series. We start off talking about various methods of organizing our stories: Dan talks about his 7-point story structure, and Rob talks about how he maps things out on big bulletin boards. Marion’s tried Scrivener and Rob’s tried Wikidpad, and we discuss the pros and cons of each.

Then we talk about writing advice. There is so much writing advice out there–how do you know what to listen to and what to ignore? How should you choose what works for you?

We then play a Very Special Episode of Storymatic, in which there is hugging and learning and slapstick comedy.

To listen, use the media player below, or download here, or subscribe to us on iTunes.

Some music from today’s episode (used under a Creative Commons license):

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5 Responses to “Ep 21: Organization, and Advice About Advice”

  1. Mark VanTassel
    June 22, 2011 at 4:25 pm #

    Thank you all for an excellent episode.

    The Seven-point System is awesome and can be easily adapted to any level of organizational detail. I never finished anything longer than a few pages before I found Dan’s presentation on Youtube.

    I recommend experimenting with Freemind*. It’s a great way to implement the Seven-point System. Like Rob, I am a visual thinker, and mind-mapping software helps me understand the relationships between plot elements.

    *Freemind is a free mind-mapping tool. I am not affiliated with the project in any way.

    • Sarah M Eden
      June 23, 2011 at 11:09 pm #

      Mark-I have used Freemind for organizing tasks and schedules and to-do lists but have never thought to use it for organizing my writing. I may have to give it a shot. Thanks for the idea.

  2. Krista
    June 24, 2011 at 12:41 am #

    Great podcast! I’m inspired. I’ve used butcher paper to make a massive messy outline, then I organized it neatly in a notebook. But then the notebook gets messy, too. I’m going to check out Scrivener. Thanks, all.

    And about the game: I Don’t Want to Kill Everyone.

    All I can think about is C. Thomas Howell and Rutger Hauer in The Hitcher. Yikes. it’s very distracting.

    Does using “butcher” paper count?

    Okay, a hitchhiker is picked up by a butcher in his delivery truck, only behind the cab is not the butcher’s deliveries, but his “acquired meat” if you know what I mean. They stop at a gas station and while the butcher is filling up, the hitcher accidentally opens the hatch to the back of the truck and finds bodies.
    He closes the hatch and instead of getting the heck out of there, reaches for the butcher’s cell phone just as the butcher returns. The butcher is suspicious, the hitcher remains cool, and they make a turn off the freeway to a very long, dark, lonely road. In woods. Yeah.
    Without a word, the butcher pulls off the side of the road. Just as he pulls out a butcher knife (oh yes I did) to add to his prime cuts, the hitcher protracts his fangs and turns the butcher into a vampire. Then he calls his other vampire buddies and they all feast on day-old blood.

    The end. Gross.

  3. Brad
    July 9, 2011 at 2:47 pm #

    Thanks for covering organization and just how much structure you guys set up before starting a book. I’m sure everybody is different as far as how much planning they need to do before they start popping out prose, but hearing how normal (as in, not Brandon Sanderson) authors do it is great.

    Also, I have found Scrivener to be really helpful for keeping things in one place, personally, although I agree that on a PC it is much buggier than the Mac version (I guess that’s why they call it “beta”). One of the nice things about Scrivener as a word processor is that it has “typewriter scrolling” which means it keeps the cursor in the middle of the screen (vertically) rather than letting it hit the bottom and then inching it up a bit at a time as needed.

  4. Bryce Dayton
    July 27, 2011 at 10:10 pm #

    For those of you that use Microsoft Word, there’s a really excellent free piece of software (for windows) called Office Tabs. It makes it so that when you open a word document, it gets put in a tab, like in your browser. It’s made it much easier for me to have all of them accessible in the same program, very quickly.


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