How to Organize Story Ideas

How to Organize Story Ideas

Are you a writer having problems organizing story ideas?  If so, you’re not alone.  As Writer’s Digest puts it, “The desire to write The Great American Novel is like an overactive beast that needs obedience school.”  Thankfully, there are many strategies you can put into action.  In this post, I’ll share tips from writing experts as well as my experience.

Mental Prep

  1. How do you organize your story ideas?
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    Treat your writing like a business: Make writing your priority.  Establish a writing routine.  Have a specific location to write.  Block out all distractions and focus on the task at hand.

  2. Don’t expect to be perfect: You will need multiple drafts for your novel.    Do not aim for perfection with your rough draft or even your second or third drafts.  That’s what multiple rewrites are for.
  3. Give yourself goals and deadlines: This will help to keep you on track and hold you accountable to completing your manuscript.
  4. Give yourself a break if you’re struggling: Step away from writing whenever you need a new perspective.  If you’re struggling writing a particular scene or chapter, there usually is a reason why.  Identify it and you can resolve the issue.

Committing to Your Ideas

  1. Brainstorm: Set aside time to develop your initial story idea.  Write down everything.
  2. Start narrowing your ideas: You may have hundreds of details you want to include in your story.  Narrow them down to those what are essential to the plot.  At the same time, never delete or recycle your notes.  You might want to refer to them later.
  3. Arrange your plot points: Take all the plot points your devised in step one and organize them chronologically then see where you need to fill in the gaps.
  4. Write an outline: When the framework for the story is fill out, create an outline.

How I Organize My Story Ideas

I start with a set writing routine and location, and I go into the process completely aware that I will need multiple revisions.

When I have a new idea, I take weeks or months to develop it.  This is because I wait to see if the idea sticks around in my head.  If it does, I know it’s worth pursuing.

I start by writing a synopsis of my idea.  At this point, characters rarely have names and I may only have the main character in mind.  I later flesh this out.

I keep notebooks for every novel.  Although the details vary, the type of information in the notebooks stays consistent – background research, character biographies and an outline containing every chapter, broken down by scene, in the novel.

Surprised how I organize story ideas?

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Melina Druga
Latest posts by Melina Druga (see all)
Melina Druga is a multi-genre author with a lifelong love of history, books and the English language. She pens historical fiction, chick lit and nonfiction.
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