I am writing a very (VERY) bad thriller for National Novel Writing Month this year. It's horrible. It's terrible. It's a hoot, so much fun! I do not worry about intended readers, niches, clients, or editors because it's just for me.
I'm also excited to report I will succeed in meeting my NaNoWriMo goal this year. Which feels great.
Part of the fun has been handwriting parts of the book. Most of the early word count is in cursive, words in black ink as I tested out various pens. And paper. It's amazing how varied paper quality can be!
I've also dictated sections of this tome as well as running to my keyboard for a good chunk of the word count.
Which means I've got a mess. Chapters all over the place, on all sorts of stuff. Add to that my maps, diagrams, flow charts -- things I want to keep with this thing when I go back to edit it.
(Or at least read the whole thing from start to finish. I'm telling you, it's BAD. There's a tsunami, for one thing. It seemed like a good idea at the time. )
I've got chapters in spiral notebooks; in cheap DollarTree composition books; on college ruled loose leaf paper. I've also got chunks of the book in printed pages from times I opted to dictate or sit there and type at the keyboard.
Then there are all the research things. Maps, diagrams, flow charts, and more that I created to help me keep my various violent sub-plots organized. As well as pretty images stored in Padlet and Pinterest and Evernote.
Where to keep all this stuff? How to compile all my papers into a final first draft, in proper page order?
My solution will not be an old-school three-ring binder. Thought about it, but nope.
I will be using a disc binding process. First, this be much more fun, especially creating my "book covers" and my fake accolades on the back (I'm imagining them now: Mark Twain couldn't put my book down, Ian Fleming reports that my thriller is so real, it's scary, ...).
Bigger reason: I can insert and remove pages as easily, and probably faster, than a metal ring binder.
Best reason: with a disc binding system, all sorts of papers can be held together and if you choose to do so, you can flip them together like a spiral notebook, and lay the whole thing flat down on its side, there on the table. This cannot be done with a ring binder, as you know.
Maybe it's because I am left-handed, but it's a great advantage to me, the ability to have the draft lay flat on the table, and the ease with which I can flip it around.
Another plus, as SeaLemon points out in her great instructional video below, I can choose to put those discs at the top or on the side. My decision.
I'm sharing this not only because other NaNoWriMo folk might like the idea, but because I think disc binding has lots more uses.
I'm already thinking of all my recipe stuff that I've shoved into backs of cookbooks, index card boxes, etc. And then there are all those notes-to-self I make and need to gather: quotes and cool vocabulary in books that I'm reading, ideas for things, you know what I mean.
Am I the only one who finds stuff they have to KEEP in every Alexander McCall Smith book they read? I just finished the latest in the Precious Ramotse series (the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency) and there's so much wisdom in there. Wow.
You may find this a fun alternative to a ring binder, too.