It’s the first week of October…hush it still counts…as you can tell I am excited for the month change if not ecstatic about the season change.

Winter can be a very dark time for me, so this year it’s planned to a fault, starting with…OCTOBER!

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on

or in the land of NaNoWriMo, PREPTOBER.

I thought I would share a little bit about my writing process here as well as on my YouTube channel which you can find here if you so choose.

The first step is a stage I call PLANNING, but it’s not exactly what it sounds like.

I want to start by saying what PLANNING is NOT.

  • It is not knowing the whole story or even thinking about the whole story. PLANNING is the very first step, so how could you have everything all figured out?
  • It’s not having a fleshed out story idea or having all the pieces to the puzzle.

PLANNING IS, at its simplest,

  • Recording the ideas you have. 
  • Organizing the ideas you have.

That brings me to my writer’s notebook. I have a binder sectioned off into different categories of stories: CHARACTERS, SETTING, SCENE ideas, etc.

FIRST: Write down the idea in one sentence. BRAINSTORMING is first section of my notebook and it’s useful to have ideas listed here. You might have a different way to categorize ideas such as online, in an app, or in a document. The important thing is to have a BRAINSTORMING place to hold the ideas.
Here’s one of mine:

A person checks into a an institution that’s been closed for 30 years.

All of us could generate ideas from this prompt and come up with completely different stories. It’s just an idea. Not magic, and certainly not writing (unfortunately).
In that sentence, we’ve got three things to work with: the person, the institution, and the timeline. I break these all down into their component parts:

What kind of person walks into the institution? What kind of institution is it? Why has it been closed for 30 years? 

SECOND: Take each of those questions and put them in the appropriate section.

Put the person in the CHARACTERS area

Take the institution, and put it in the SETTINGS area

Take the timeline and put it wherever it fits. Maybe you have a TIMELINES category. Maybe your timeline has to do with SETTING or Maybe it’s part of the PLOT or RESEARCH NOTES. 

From there, start taking notes or building your world as you see fit. When you get a lot of this information or a full-fledged idea, then it’s time to create some order. This can happen any time you feel ready to move forward especially if you’re feeling overwhelmed by all your ideas. 

That’s called PLOTTING, and it’s the topic of next week’s post.

See you then!


Photo by Karolina Grabowska on


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