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Genevive Chamble: How one writer stays organized…
Monday, March 16th, 2020

A question I’m frequently asked is how do I keep my characters, storylines, etc. organized? The first answer that always lingers on the tip of my tongue is that I don’t. However, that isn’t true. It merely seems that way at the time. Let me explain.

First, according to results on the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator (MBTI), I’m what is known as an ENTP. For those unfamiliar with the MBTI, it is a self-report personality questionnaire developed by Isabel Myer and Katherine Briggs that identifies a person’s personality attributes and preferences based on theories of personality archetypes formulated by the Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Jung. Now, I’m not going to diving into Jung’s theory. (Been there; done that in grad school. His writings aren’t exactly light reading.) Fortunately, one doesn’t have to be familiar with Jung’s work to understand the MBTI, as the creators already did the work.

The MBTI divides personality archetypes into four categories.
1. Extroversion – Introversion
2. Intuition – Sensing
3. Thinking – Feeling
4. Judging – Perceiving.

These four categories in combination form sixteen personality types. I won’t be discussing the ins and outs of the MBTI. Readers interested in learning more or taking the MBTI for themselves are encouraged to visit the Myers & Briggs Foundation website.

As previously mentioned, my personality type is ENTP (Extroverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Perceiving). The N is what denotes my creativity; however, it is the P that causes me issues in organization. I generally like to substitute the P to mean procrastination instead of perceiving. Oof! However, I have an organized type of procrastination going on. For other Ps that probably made a lot of sense while all the Js are likely scratching their heads. See, I’m aware of deadlines and schedules and am mindful of how long it will take me to perform tasks. From the moment I’m first aware of a task, I begin mentally preparing a plan. Granted, this may not be a good or solid plan, but it’s a start. Don’t come for me. It is the P in me that has me, um…should we say lacking in organization? Which brings me to my second point.

I’m a panster. Yep, card-carrying. I know most of my fellow writers who are plotters have just come unwound. It’s okay. We’re all different. Look, I tried doing the outline and was about to cast myself into the Pontchartrain, but these waters have gators. When I write, I don’t need a bunch of Post-Its telling me what comes next. I write the scene as I’m feeling it. If it doesn’t belong in the final draft, I cut it.

I’ve heard the argument that creating an outline prevents plot holes and allows one to write faster. Uh huh. It does only if your mind is designed that way. Outlining slows me. I get caught and hung up in details and forget what I want to say. My work comes across as being contrived and forced. This isn’t a criticism of being a plotter. It’s just not a process that has worked for me.

According to the MBTI, women are more likely to be Fs than Ts. My T score is much lower than all my other scores. In fact, my scores on all the other scales are towards the falling off extreme end, while my T score is in the single digits. Instead of going on emotions, I really analyze matters. If one asks my friends, I analyze too much. This over-analyzation is the N in me trying to find a deeper meaning. Typical Ts make judgments that are based on logic. I must see and identify the problem before I am able to formulate solutions. If I tried to outline that, I’d extinguish an entire ecosystem with the number of index cards. As they say here, “Naw, sis, that ain’t happening.”

But make no mistake, there is organization. I do jot down ideas. I have two notebooks that I use to track ideas as well as things that I’ve learned in the past. For example, when I receive constructive criticism, I make a note of it. These notebooks are also where I write all of my notes. Now, why don’t I write them electronically? Two reasons. First, I’ve had computers to crash and suffer premature death, losing all of my work. I do back up, but I’ve had flash drives to be corrupted and cyber storage (e.g., Cloud) to be wiped out and vanish. Now, if this isn’t this next example isn’t the dumbest thing to happen to me, I don’t know what is. I was using my laptop while in bed. I sat it on the mattress to go to another room. As I was leaving, I tripped over the cord, and the computer slid onto a bench at the foot of the bed. The flash drive splintered.

Second, it’s easy for me to have my notebook beside me as I write and easily flip through it instead of bumbling through multiple screens. It’s an easy reference for me, especially when I’m editing. A lot of what I write in the notebook, I don’t keep long term. For example, I often use editing checklists. As I edit, I scratch items off or make notes. Since I make multiple self-edits, use the list several times. Often, my checklists are specific to the story I’m writing.

There’s also a third reason that I didn’t want to mention but guess I should if I’m being completely transparent. I really just like pretty notebooks and doodling in the margins.

As far as keeping my storylines and characters organized, I don’t find that difficult since I give them each a distinctive personality and image. If I find myself unable to remember my characters, that’s a problem, and that character either needs a major overhaul or the guillotine. One thing about me is that I’m not afraid to slash into my story to bring readers the best story possible.

I think a huge element in my organization is that much of my story is written in my head prior to my sitting down at the computer. I know most of the key elements, and I need to get them on paper before they evaporate. Once I get the large chunks down, I can add the sprinkles. It’s the life of a panster. Don’t hate.
And that’s how I keep organized.

For more of how I write, my stories, and my shenanigans, giveaways, and more, check out my blog, Creole Bayou, New posts are made on Wednesdays, and everything is raw and unscathed. Climb on in a pirogue and join me on the bayou. If you have any questions or suggestions about this post or any others, feel free to comment below or tweet me at @dolynesaidso. You also can follow me on Instagram at genevivechambleeauthor or search me on Goodreads or Amazon Authors.

And also, don’t forget to check out my new steamy, sports romance, Ice Gladiators, guaranteed to melt the ice. It’s the third book in my Locker Room Love series.

Ice Gladiators

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Taz has problems: a stalled career, a coach threatening to destroy him, a meddling matchmaking roommate, and a thing for his other roommate’s boyfriend. The first three are manageable, but the last… well, that’s complicated. Because as much as Taz is attempting not to notice Liam, Liam is noticing him.

Missed the two books in my sports romance series? No frets. Out of the Penalty Box, where it’s one minute in the box or a lifetime, out is available at It also can be ordered on iTunes, Nook, or Kobo. Visit Defending the Net can be ordered at Crossing the line could cost the game.

Until next time, happy reading and much romance.