Spinning Plates

Sat, Nov 4 2017 12:07pm GMT 1
MosquitoFB6
MosquitoFB6
201 Posts
I'm engaged in the task of writing an epic at the moment. That's not an exaggeration - I did a word count for the combined manuscripts and it topped out at around 800,000 and now I have a question for the more experienced, ambitious or crazy Cloudies out there (note: the aforementioned monster isn't a single story, but a series of 20+ novellas).

Put simply, as implied in the thread title, I have a lot of plot strands, characters, situations and general elements of the universe to keep straight at the same time and I need a good way of filing them for ease of reference. I realise this is very much a case of closing the stable door long after the horse has been turned into glue and the barn's become a converted residence, but I still need something.

Those of you who've read my group, 'Mozzie's Beta Barn', will know the stories I'm talking about - very complex setups and plots developing upon plots - and if I ever get a concussion, I risk losing the lot. So far I have a lot of Word documents that detail who, what and where, and I've also hand-drawn charts and diagrams, but what I'm in need of is some sort of quick reference guide that I can glance at to refresh my memory of who's doing what to whom and when. What sort of systems do you lot use?

Oh, anyone who wants to check out the contents of the Beta Barn, please do.
Sat, Nov 4 2017 10:19pm GMT 2
L.
L.
125 Posts
How does one locate or access that Beta Barn group?
Sat, Nov 4 2017 10:32pm GMT 3
Gus
Gus
115 Posts
Is your issue mostly one of time, or space? Is it more difficult to keep track of where everyone is, or when everything happens?

Do you already have a timeline of events?
Sat, Nov 4 2017 10:45pm GMT 4
MosquitoFB6
MosquitoFB6
201 Posts
Hi L. - I've sent you a private message that hopefully contains everything you'll need to locate the Barn.

Gus - the thing I'm writing is an ensemble piece. There are several important characterts who could be called 'lead' protagonists, but there is one main person around whom the action revolves. The plates I'm spinning are largely to do with their interactions - as and when they collide, the circumstances created by those interactions, and knowing when precisely I need to be detailing these. What I need is some sort of quick reference system that I can dip into, a bit like a paper index file but electronic since I'm limited for physical space.

The stories follow an overall 'series arc' and the events follow a pre-plotted timeline that I've worked out, but the issue I'm having trouble with is remembering - and timing - the fine details, not the broad brush. I'm not sure what I'd need to help me; perhaps some sort of filing program or something. Any suggestions gratefully received.

I'm not sure how the 'Groups' page works when you want to find a specific one, so here's the link I see on my screen.

http://writing-community.writersworkshop.co.uk/groups/profile/14194
Sat, Nov 4 2017 11:30pm GMT 5
Gus
Gus
115 Posts
What about something like this:

https://xkcd.com/657/
Sun, Nov 5 2017 10:57am GMT 6
MosquitoFB6
MosquitoFB6
201 Posts
That looks interesting. Is there any more information as to how to set one up?
Sun, Nov 5 2017 12:14pm GMT 7
Gus
Gus
115 Posts
I think it was just hand-drawn. You might be able to plot something similar in a spreadsheet graph though.
Sun, Nov 5 2017 10:33pm GMT 8
L.
L.
125 Posts
Got the message and will be delving into the Barn and chapter 1.

I was going to suggest the same thing as Gus i.e. a spreadsheet and maybe using it to plot a chart of all interaction and important moments of each novellas.
Tue, Nov 7 2017 09:23am GMT 9
JB
JB
2 Posts
Like the spereadsheet idea, but what about MS OneNote as a index system. Easy to use and auto updates on all devices, Mac, etc I use this all the time as I never know when the lightbulb moment will happen.! I keep various notebooks on OneNote EG: Work, Home, Speeches, College / Student lectures, How many times I was right and the Wife was wrong (I don't use this one much Wink).
Tue, Nov 7 2017 01:03pm GMT 10
MosquitoFB6
MosquitoFB6
201 Posts
I'll have a look at that. Thanks for the tip.
Wed, Nov 8 2017 09:02am GMT 11
JB
JB
2 Posts
No worries, hope it's of use.

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