I have envy for writers who fill hundreds of filing cards to take notes for their novels. I imagine them shuffling the deck and doing marvellous tricks. And I find it impressive when authors have sheets of paper filling their walls, sticky notes posted all over, with lines and arrows and question marks dotted across it in different colours.
But, it ain't me, Babe.
I've tried file cards (with my onion novels I tried blank recipe cards). I've started notebooks (large and small) when I have started manuscripts. If I manage three pages (or three file cards) it is a wonder. I will write some few notes in the margins of my manuscript itself (I do most novels long hand). But, basically, I believe that if I can not remember some aspect about the world I create, it is best forgotten.
I don't advise my way as the way to go. The following authors did just fine with their elaborate plans. [DE]
J.K. Rowling’s spreadsheet plan for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
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Famous Authors’ Handwritten Outlines for Great Works of Literature
By Emily Temple
Writing a novel (or a story, for that matter) is confusing work. There are just so many characters running all over the place, dropping hints and having revelations. So it’s no surprise that many authors plan out their works beforehand, in chart or list or scribble form, in order to keep everything straight. After the jump, you’ll find a mini collection of those planning papers, so you can take a peek into the process of some of your favorite authors, from James Salter to J.K. Rowling.