*Revised from October 2015, 2017
Token 4: KEEP A “SPICE RACK” OF IDEAS AND SCENES IN A SEPARATE WORD DOCUMENT
Years ago, when I first started blogging, I made mention on my creative ministry site, I Came For The Soup, of separate documents that I keep alongside each novel that I work on which contains ideas, scenes, etc pertaining to that story. Now to be clear, this document is NOT an Outline. It is what I call a ‘Spice Rack.’
Assuming (again) that you are already a seasoned writer, I am pretty sure you are familiar with the process of your creativity ‘jumping ahead’ of your story as you write it. For example, you may be working on chapter five when suddenly some thrilling scene pops in your head that has nothing to do with the current flow of the story BUT it somehow fits, like a glimpse into the future. You just don’t know where.
SO WHAT DO YOU DO WITH THIS SCENE?
If you are smart, YOU WRITE IT DOWN IMMEDIATELY! and you store what you have written in the, you guessed it, spice rack document. (And when I say write it down, I don’t mean write ABOUT it, I mean actually WRITE it as if that is where you are in the novel. This will save you time later and give you the full feeling of your characters’ future selves.)
These scenes may not fit immediately into the storyline, but they do count toward your daily word count and overall word count goal. As you continue writing you will surely find out that this ‘homeless’ scene you took a pause to build early on around ‘chapter five’ was actually the climax of chapter twenty-seven! (Glad you wrote it down when it came to you, aren’t you? )
WHEN DO YOU USE YOUR SPICE RACK?
Keep in mind that writing a novel is kind of like making soup from scratch. You have all the basic ingredients, but as the stock is cooking there are times that you taste test it and find that it just needs something to give it that little extra kick. What do you do? You go to your spice rack.
As you grow deeper into your novel during NaNoWriMo, you will draw toward moments where you just feel like something is missing. This is where you open up your spice-rack-document and grab one of those seemingly out of place bits of writing that you cranked out of nowhere.
For me, there were conversations, heated ones, that my characters who hadn’t even met yet, were having somewhere in the future, and as I kept writing I subconsciously built my way into each one of those Spice Rack scenes.
I have actually been doing the ‘Spice Rack’ since I was fourteen years old…I am now old enough to have a fourteen-year-old.
So here is another brief recap of NaNo Tokens:
TIP 1. Write anything. Let your imagination take control. (Click HERE for full article)
TIP 2. Have a reader who will look over your daily progress with an honest reader’s eye, and give you feedback. (Click HERE for full article)
TIP 3. Set a daily word count goal that you can manage. (Click HERE for full article)
TIP 4. Keep a “SPICE RACK” of ideas and scenes in a separate word document
BONUS: Check out my debut novel, NEXUS GATE 4037: THE ANIMAL, my first published piece born from a 30-day writing marathon like NaNoWriMo, both in eBook and Paperback.
“You can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.” ~JODI PICOULT