Posted by: nancyisanders | May 27, 2015

Chapter Book: Get Organized


I’ve been carrying around a notebook, jotting down ideas for my early chapter book wherever I go.

I’ve written some actual conversations as my character’s voice is popping into my head.

I’ve jotted down ideas on developing my cast of characters.

I’ve made notes about potential plot points and twists.

So this morning I felt the need to organize all this.

I spread out everything I have so far on my table. My writing buddy Sandman decided to help me since he’s working on an early chapter book, too. His story features a cast of birds who visit our bird feeders every day and taunt him from outside our window.

Then I made file folders and put them in my pocket folder. Here are some of the folders I put in already:

A folder for my current manuscript in progress since I’ve already written a couple of chapters as the beginning has started to take shape in my head.

A folder for any general notes I’ve taken. (I rip these out of my notebook and put in here or in the corresponding file folder in my pocket folder.)

A folder for SETTING.

A folder for PLOT.

A folder for TITLE. (I’ll brainstorm ideas for my title and put these in here.)

A folder for MENTOR TEXT: STINK #1. (I put in all the plot charts and notes I’ve taken on this so far.)

A folder for RESEARCH. (I’m putting in research notes here since one of my characters is an animal. I got in a tote bag full of nonfiction picture books on this animal from the library. I read these over the weekend and plan to re-read them and take a bunch of notes.)

Folders I haven’t yet included but plan to make will be TOP SECRET DETECTIVE FILES for my cast of characters, especially my main character and his closest friends. I’ll also include a folder for BACKGROUND CHARACTERS when I get there.

And I also got out my book, YES! YOU CAN LEARN HOW TO WRITE BEGINNING READERS AND CHAPTER BOOKS and re-read Chapter 7: “Writing Strategies for Beginning Readers and Chapter Books.”

Yes, I do read my own books! Smile. That’s because I switch genres so frequently (I just finished a 190+ page nonfiction unit on FROGS that I posted to my store in Teachers Pay Teachers) that I needed a refresher on the basic elements of early chapter books that are fiction. I recommend you do the same and read that chapter, too!

So if you haven’t yet organized all your notes, I encourage you to do so in the next few days.

Next week here on my blog we’ll be wrapping up brainstorming on PLOT and then we’ll move forward onto CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT in the week after that. Creating a pocket folder now will help you keep all your notes organized!


  1. Your Frog TpT unit looks so professional! Wow!

    • Thanks for saying that, Tina! It was my first try at a whole nonfiction unit like that. I found all the photographs for free use and then I created all the graphics for it myself…it took me 5 months to do! But now I have templates I can use, etc. for more units. I’m thinking of trying my hand at some nonfiction mini-units next.

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