Wednesday, 31 August 2011

The Power of Notebooks

I write. I try to write something every day, even if it's just a couple lines that I store away, unsure if they will ever be used.
I have ideas, so many ideas that my friends can't keep up. They wonder how my brain can process them all. I say that it's easy, but of course I would, I've become used to living with myself. Most days at least.
I have written two completed books, of a series I'm working on, and the first I've just finished its final round of revisions (Final for now anyway). I have about 15 other novels planned, and lots of extracts written for each.
Sometimes I wonder if I should stop, but how can you when something hits you? And it really doesn't go with what you're currently writing, but you know it's so good that you can't let it pass you by, to be forgotten. So that's why I write down every idea that I have.
This is the reason I own 40+ notebooks.

I have at least one notebook and folder for each individual story, all appropriately labelled; two notebooks for short stories; one notebook for character and setting ideas; some for picture book ideas; two notebooks for my poetry; notebooks for my university work; one cupcake notebook for my favourite recipes; a notebook that is always in my handbag; one for this very blog and one for personal notes and for event plans/birthday or Christmas presents, that kind of thing. (And of course I have lots of spare notebooks for if I run out or have a new idea, plus lots of scrap pieces of paper.)
Perhaps you don't have to go to the extreme that I do, but notebooks are a very good idea.

Author Zoƫ Marriott, of The Swan Kingdom, Daughter of The Flames, Shadows On The Moon, posted a video on youtube about notebooks being a writers best friend. And I couldn't agree with her more.

A notebook is a great tool for a writer. For instance the one for my series is set up somewhat like this:

  1. First few pages have titles and vague plot information.
  2. Then lots filled with character information; appearance; traits and history etc.
  3. After that there's tons of information on the world and setting. Diagrams, pictures that sort of thing.
  4. Then I have some pages for random facts and ideas.
  5. The back pages are filled with pictures and lyrics I find inspirational.

That's how I tend to set out my notebooks. But find a way that works for you, a system that only you understand. Also have a lot of sellotape/glue/staples at hand, you will defiantly need them when sticking all your collected bits in.

I actually started this blog because I wanted to share something, then got distracted by notebooks (nothing new there), so now I'm going to.

I recently had a new idea for a story, which I really am not going to work on for a long while (if I keep telling myself that it just might happen), and on the first page I have written this:

The sirens sound,
Everyone runs.
There's explosions within moments,
Followed by poisonous gases.
That's when the screaming starts.

I reach for you,
The first thing my heart cries for.
As soon as your hands in mine,
I feel ready for the fight.
You've made all of this worth it.

I never thought I'd need you,
Not so completely like the air I breathe.
And I know we work,
Like tick and tock.
Because you need me just the same.

A women's howls divert my eyes from yours,
She walks towards stacks of scattered debris.
I wondered what her home once looked like,
How many she's lot in this endless war.
Please God, don't let me lose you.

You drag me away from the newly broken,
Towards anywhere that will keep us safe.
For the briefest moment I am glad,
That he didn't live to see what we've become.
The world we were trying so hard to save.

We get caught in a thrashing crowd,
And now we've no other way to turn.
I see it before anyone else does,
I tug on your arm and point up.
We both know we can't run anymore.

You turn to me and hold my face,
Your fingers caress my skin passionately.
I don't want this to be the end,
We've fought so hard and had so little time you and me.
Why has my world never been fair?

"God I love you," you breath,
Your voice is like a warm blanket.
I stroke the back of your neck gently,
The way that makes you smile.
You kiss me while we have time.

"Now it can take me,
I don't care where,
Anywhere if it's with you."

This is something I wrote, after discovering these two new characters to add to the world I created for this story.

So now I've shared something that I feel is the key to me sustaining my sanity, and a little of my work, I'm off to see which notebook I feel like working on today.


  1. Amie, you are so right! Notebooks are a must aren't they? I have a collection of pens to go with mine too. Like you, I have my notebooks labelled and tabbed, and have multiple folders - a folder for each long work, and folders for picture book stories. It really does help thought, doesn't it?

  2. Yes I am the same with pens; I get so protective and so annoyed if I lose one. The same goes for notebooks to actually.
    Yes it does, it helps make everything clear and you know you won't forget because it's all written down. And I find I remember stuff more once I've written it down.

  3. I LOVE that extract, it draws you in so much... my favourite part is this: '"God I love you," you breathe'

    P.S. I gave you an award on my blog :)

  4. Aww thank you, that's my favourite part too.

    Oh really *blushes excitedly* Thank you =D