the importance and the unimportance of notes

book hats

Is unimportance a word? I’m not so sure. I think I’m going to go with no, but I like it, so it can stay.

I’ve hit about 73,000 words on the work in progress, which is also the middle grade novel I started writing in March. Ugh. I can’t believe how long it’s taking. There were a few breaks to work on other projects, editing and such, but it still feels like an eternity.

The notes for the book have surpassed 45 pages. I currently have them crammed into a folder that has those things that go through the holes, kind of like a binder in folder form. This is handy because I can go in and rearrange and add into the middle if I want.

Between the sketches of things in the story, the somewhat haphazard arrangement of details (which has veered into a not-quite-linear set of thoughts), and the random bits of dialog mixed in, I’ll probably come off as a crazy person to anyone who attempts to read it.

I wrote out many of the notes before I started working on the book itself. At the beginning of a new writing project, I can’t always tell what will work the best once I really get going. I followed my notes (for the most part) to a certain point, probably about 3/4 of the way to where I am now and I realized that the next phase of the story needed two of the scenes to sort of overlap.

From there, the story climbed to this whole other level where cultures and relationship dynamics come into play, whereas in the original version, the original notes for that part of the story, didn’t have that kind of depth. The book is better because I deviated.

I guess the point is that notes should be seen as more of a guide than a task list. They offer direction if I lose my way, or in this case two directions at once, even though I didn’t see it at first. They also remind me of where my head was at when I started writing. So while they’re beneficial, they’re not everything. The story is going where it needs to go. That’s what matters.


One comment on “the importance and the unimportance of notes

  1. I agree–notes are more of a guide. Personally, I’m a serial note collector. They wind up on everything from napkins to receipts which I’ll later tape in a notebook and embellish. It’s a wonderful mess. 🙂

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