Upon leisurely perusing the December issue of ‘Writing Magazine’, I came across a great tip to help me keep track of the project that I am currently working on, an idea so simple that I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before.
I have created a simple spreadsheet in Excel, each column relates to key information that I need to keep track of the progress of my story.
- Chapter number
- Words to do
- Words done
- Chapter summary
- Day count
- Weekday and time (i.e. morning/afternoon/evening/night)
I have found this incredibly useful as a tool for quickly scanning which chapters might need brushing up on or re-editing. The last two columns are a Godsend as losing track of which day I am on is a major issue for me at time, especially when I have multiple characters and plot threads to tie up.
No one sits down and cranks out 50,000 word novels in one sitting. It is something that we come back to and do a bit at a time and the likelihood is that we will all make a snafu in regards to continuity of the storyline at one point or another. I find that using this simple table of data helps me keep track of where my story is going and I would highly recommend it to others. It is easy to maintain, when you’ve finished a new chapter, just add the above points to your spreadsheet and you will have not only a running total of words written, but also a good base from which to build a synopsis for your story from.