I got caught in the rain the other day while I was making my way home from work. “So what?” you say, “There’s a lot of it around”. Well aside from the inconvenience and very mild discomfort I discovered a couple of days later that I’d left one of my small notebooks in one of my coat pockets and one corner of the book had got wet.
Fortunately it’s a new notebook so I’ve only filled ten to fifteen pages with my tight-packed handwritten notes, dialogue ideas, oh and a three thousand or so word short story draft.
It’s not too bad actually – I’ve been transcribing a lot of notes recently into Scrivener – the software package I use to compile and edit my fiction – so most of what got hit by the water is safe and partially edited. What it has made me realise though is that I’ve actually also minimised the damage with my habit of spreading my notes and drafts between a number of notebooks before typing them up.
I usually have two or three notebooks on the go, with scenes scattered between them. I often have little notations of where to find the next piece – sometimes literally a series of arrows drawn across page ends. It makes showing people those first drafts a bit of a pain, but my whirligig mind usually knows exactly what piece fits where and how in the chronology of the wider story. Assembling those pieces as I transcribe them is usually a fairly smooth process – with only an occasional need to renumber chapters and shuffle them around.
In many ways then, I write like a programmer in an object-orientated language – with paragraphs and scenes as the objects called by the narrative and assembled into a coherent stream (for a given value of coherent perhaps). If I call this then an Object Orientated Paragraph Summary (OOPS), then perhaps this realisation is Object Orientated Knowledge (OOK) – appropriate for someone working in a library…
I know, I need to get out more…