How to Approach Writing A Long Story

When I set out to write Splattering Yet Endearing, I knew that the story was going to be very long. However, even I find it a little tough approaching a story that is going to be a little more than 1000 pages after it is done. How do I know this?

  1. I made an outline-OK admittedly this started as just a list of ideas. I opened up Evernote and started one new note. I used a straight line to separate the note between the story content and my ideas list. Well after like three or five months of writing down ideas I slowly formed both the general direction and the details of the story progression. And since I put off writing this for four years, this outline is very helpful for my memory now!
  2. I further broke down my outline into sections-Similar to any story or movie that has a Part 1, Part 2 etc, I defined the outline into several sections defined by a certain tone or story direction or change of tone.
  3. I quickly added more notes to document and provide research for the story-Leveraging the expandability and organization in Evernote, I added notes one by one related to the story. This could be an idea I thought of on the way to class or a relevant web link to an aspect of the story. Just this year I assigned all these notes to a dedicated journal in Evernote and further categorized them by tagging notes. Why is this helpful? Using a journal for my story notes separates the notes from non story notes. Then, the tags separate the story notes from each other quickly and easily. Now that I have 100 story related notes, this is a necessity to keep on top of the material.

Well, I take the story seriously. Given that it is so big, it is easy to get lost in both the details and the broad aspects of the story. To try to keep a grip on the details and the big picture, I have seven notes that are central to the story. They are: A main story note (with that ideas list/outline), a mission statement note (goals that I want to accomplish as a writer and within the story), a journal (noting my experience as I write the story), a list of character traits, a note describing the differences about how the characters like to describe their lives and world (define characters’ individual tone) and a list of environments (helps with shaping the world and key areas).

Actually the biggest pile in my story would be the outline. But the outline is so helpful, I don’t dare try to simplify or shorten it. A pile it will be!

So yeah, Evernote for me became a handy database. The fact that it allows me to read my story and add more notes when I am on the go on my smartphone helps a lot too, compared to having 100 Word documents or 100 emails to myself.

Hope this helps! If someone wants to learn more about this topic I can do a follow up post. To be honest, the GIF above I just used totally distracted me.

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