Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tuesday Tips: The Bedside Notebook

Well, it sure is good to be back!  I feel as though I haven't blogged in ages.  I missed you guys, one and all!

If you've read a few non-fiction books on writing, you will see a section titled something like: "Writers Notebook, A Must Have" or "Idea Catcher a.k.a A Writing Notebook."

For some reason, I thought I was exempt from these sorts of tips.  Notebooks are only for people to scatter brained to keep all of their writing in one file folder on the computer.  (Mine is marked "My Stories.")  Guess what?  Late Sunday night I learned I was WRONG!  Oh Gasp!  I know what you're thinking.  Sarah . . . wrong?  Banish the thought.  Alas, it has been known to happen on occasion.

I do still have a My Stories file folder on my computer, but I also have a yellow legal pad by my bed.  So far, this notebook is for one thing and one thing only.  I use it to write down advise to myself.  But not just any advise.  Oh no!  This notebook is only for things I find out by myself from reading or writing or critiquing.  (I really love critiquing creative writing of others.)

I realized the need for a writing notebook late Sunday night.  I had just gotten back from a mission trip and I couldn't sleep because me body was on a different timezone.  While I was gone, my mom had picked up a hold for me from the library.

 So late Sunday night I was about 100 pages into Insurgent by Veronica Roth. Now, for those of you who don't know, this is a very fast paced novel.  So there I was, reading along when I came to a scene where the leader of one fifth of the city admitted that she was drugging a fifth of the population to keep them docile.  And then the book just kept moving right along and that scene was never mentioned again.  I didn't think much of it until about thirty minutes later, after I'd shut the book and turned out my light.  And then I was like "Woah!  They're drugging 20% the population to keep the *peace.*"  When that happened in Batman Begins, it was a really big deal! (I know they drugged the population for a different reason, but try to stay on subject.  Goodness!)  So why is it that this revelation didn't rock my world as it relates to Insurgent?

 So I was sitting in bed thinking about this and I realized something.  If you want a plot twist to really impact a readers imagination, it has to impact the characters in one of two ways.
1. The twist can have no impact on the character, showing how far that character or society has fallen.

2. Or the twist can have a huge impact on the characters life and so effect the reader

So, I wrote that last paragraph down and thus my writing notebook (read: legal pad) was born.

What about you, do you have a writing notebook of some kind or do you stick to am insanely well organized  file folder?  I'd love to know!

Have a great night!


  1. I don't have a notebook, but it sounds like a good idea.

    But I do have a spiral bound notebook for stuff about my characters.

    It's great to have you back Sarah. :)

  2. I'm scatterbrained so even though I have a pad and notebook, when ideas strike, I can never find it. lol It's like a Catch-22.
    I hope your mission trip was awesome and great tips about impacts and stuff! Very true.

  3. I have a notebook for ideas-- snippets of conversation that would be funny, story ideas-- but not writing advice. That's actually what I use my blog for. Anything that I find out about writing in a book gets into a post somehow or other, and I end up learning more about it by telling others about it than if I just stewed about it all day. It works for me.

  4. I am an avid write-down-not-type person when it comes to writing. Thus I have a fairly large composition notebook that goes with me almost everywhere. In said notebook I jot down outlines, character sketches, plot ideas, plot twists, you get the picture, right? Despite how chaotic that sounds, it really is organized! When I know I've finished with a page I carefully tear it out and place it in a folder and organize from there. :-D

  5. Tagged you in a blog post! ;D

  6. I have a little notebook for ideas for blog posts or ideas for stories. Very useful. :)

  7. This is a really great idea. I hate it when I have a great idea when I'm about to fall asleep or in the middle of reading, and then I forget it and wonder what it was all about the next day! Thanks for the great post. (:


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