Monday, March 19, 2012

How I Use My Journal to Write

Every book I write has it's own gorgeous, hardcover journal. I spare no expense for my journals because they become the bible of the world I'm creating for my novel. One of my journals I bought in a castle in France. Another I bought in an old shop in Insodang, Seoul.

If I see a journal I really like, I'll buy it, saving it for my next project. The other day I spotted these bigger journals in Barnes and Noble and was tempted. But I do love having a smaller one that I can squeeze into my purse or computer bag.

My journal for GILDED

So what do I fill my journal with?
  • Photos- if I see a photo that reminds me of a setting, I cut it out and glue it inside
  • Character sketches and venn diagrams (yeah, that's the teacher part in me)
  • Listing of important names and their meanings
  • Phrases that I think of and want to put into the book
  • Thoughts or questions that I need answers for
  • List of people and their contact information who I can go to for information
  • Ideas and brainstorming
  • Using it to jump start ideas or to discuss with myself issues I'm having with the story: "remember to go back and work on the dialogue for him." Or "check authenticity of the horn bow" or "I wonder what would happen if I decided to kill him. Would that up the tension or let things fizzle out?"
I also found that journal handy when I'm doing a revision or prepping to write a sequel. I can easily pull it out and use it to jump start another story.

How about you? Do you keep a journal? How do you use it?


Michael Horvath said...

I don't journal but my GF has enough moleskins around the house for both of us.

Meredith said...

I always have a journal for each project, too! I mostly use it for brainstorming--writing out questions I have about what should happen, about character motivation, anything. Sometimes I use it for freewriting when I need to get into a character's head. It's just so useful!

Anne M Leone said...

I've always wanted to have a fancy journal for each project, but as I write all my manuscripts by hand (as well as plot charts, character sketches, revision brainstorms, and grocery lists), I go through notebooks in a few months. Getting 4-6 beautiful, fancy notebooks a year seems a little wasteful. What I REALLY need is a beautiful THICK fancy notebook! ;)

On the flip side, though, I have a few (thinner) beautiful, fancy notebooks and haven't yet had the courage to write in them. I'm intimidated, not sure my scribblings are worthy!

G.M. said...

It's good that you are methodical and keep journals for every book. I have only one project, so don't have a journal. When I have an idea to add to my novel, I write it on a paper, then write it in the USB stick and toss the paper away. Mentioning Seoul in your post, my favourite song these days is on YouTube "Hyorin - Because it's You." Best wishes with your jourals and novels.

Kimbra Kasch said...

I've had journals since I was a little girl. I even have garden journals where I post pics from my own garden and other people's gardens too. I sometimes cut pics out of magazines and add them to my journal. Guess I'm a journal-girl :)and always have been

Andrea Mack said...

I keep my journal beside my computer when I'm writing, in case I need to stop and work out an idea, note something I want to remember for later, or paste in an inspiring piece of advice or a quote. My journal goes beside my bed at night, in case I wake up with an idea I just have to write down. And I take it with me on trips.

Karen Strong said...

That is a gorgeous journal. I love your process. I keep a notebook, but it's just a plain spiral one. Bad thing is that I forget it sometimes when ideas hit.

Christina Farley said...

Yes, they don't have to be all pretty! I'm weird like that. And I'm funny about my pencils and pens!

Marcia said...

Oh, I LOVE beautiful journals. But I tend to keep my pretty ones for personal reflections. I keep my novel bibles more ugly and utilitarian. :)