Our Peek Inside… series takes a look inside people’s journals to celebrate their imagination and inspire others. Please send us an email if you have a project that you would like to be featured.

This week we are getting an insider’s look at Sara’s novel planning journals. Sara writes:

I’ve used Paperblanks journals for years, but I started using them for planning novels recently because of my cat. Like your average feline, my cat dislikes anything that takes my attention from her. She usually expresses this distaste by knocking things from my desk, or placing herself on top of anything of interest (again, a normal cat).


After an entire weekend of working on a novel draft I made the mistake of leaving loose pages of notes on the end of my desk. I keep a trash can beside my desk, exclusively for paper and fabric scraps. Sometime that following week I emptied that trash can, and when I went back to work on the novel the papers—a whole weekend’s worth of notes—were gone. The only explanation I can come up with is that the cat* knocked them into the trash. Since then I’ve picked out a Paperblanks journal for each project for all of my research, notes, ideas, and stray scenes.


I started with the Baroque Ventaglio journal. It seemed like the perfect place to plan out a new fantasy world. The unlined pages make it easy for me to sketch out ideas, draw maps, and take research notes all in one place. I like to draw things as I’m describing them, and when I’m having trouble thinking through things it all goes much more smoothly if I’m able to doodle as I think. And when I do take notes on scraps of paper, they go right into the folder in the back. Even though I’d claim these journals are for novel notes, there are probably as many drawings as words inside of them.


This little bird started as part of a story, a little mechanical creature that was animated by magic. I actually cut it from the novel entirely, but later on I started drawing these clockwork birds, which became an entire series of paintings.


This was probably just some idle drawing to clear my head. It’s not related to anything I was writing. However, it is the first doodle I have of a pen nib turned into a necklace. I make those on a regular basis now!


Then there are the pages filled with things that are for the novels (there are more of them than you might think, with this post as reference). There are maps, fantasy languages, and occasional character sketches.

Sometimes I just get distracted. When I can’t focus I like to decorate the edges of blank pages. Other times the doodles take over entire pages.


As unintentional as it may have been, turns out my cat had the right idea. Now each one of my worlds gets its own beautiful book to live in, and I have places for all of my other ideas to grow.

*To be fair, it could have been a ghost.


You can find me on twitter as @slczouk, where I’m usually ranting and raving about my latest project. I also have a (somewhat neglected) blog that can be found at

About Paperblanks: At Paperblanks, we believe that art should have a place in all aspects of life. That’s why we follow the artist’s way in everything we do – creating, crafting and releasing designs we believe have the power to touch people. For more about Paperblanks, go to our website at


  1. Dear Sara,I love Paparblanks too and have many different,all my noteooks are my precious!
    Your work is imaginatively and wonderful, I like it!
    I greet you,Lily


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