1. huskies
    Offline

    huskies Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2011
    Messages:
    52
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    England

    How do you keep your notes?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by huskies, Aug 8, 2014.

    When you create a new idea how do you make notes on it?

    I am 70k into a book but have just had another idea pop in my head, i would like to finish my other book before i start this one but don't want to forget anything.

    My question is how do you make notes, is it just bullet points or do you write large descriptions?

    I don't want to loose the ideas however i also don't want my notes to become a whole new project.
     
  2. Ulramar
    Offline

    Ulramar Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 6, 2014
    Messages:
    799
    Likes Received:
    243
    Location:
    My own fantasy world, living the good life
    I scribble it down in a little notebook I keep with me almost 24/7. Many times I woke up in the middle of the night and grabbed the notebook to scribble down things.
     
  3. cutecat22
    Offline

    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2014
    Messages:
    2,434
    Likes Received:
    1,063
    Location:
    England
    I start a new file on my computer to dump any scenes that I write and I start a new section in my journal for anything that I jot down, that way, I can quickly get it out of my head and not worry about forgetting it when the time comes to start the new project.
     
    peachalulu, jannert and huskies like this.
  4. TWErvin2
    Offline

    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2006
    Messages:
    2,529
    Likes Received:
    561
    Location:
    Ohio, USA
    I have spiral notebooks and computer files, folders labelled to contain different information (lists, various details such as condensed space travel rates--for my SF novels, etc.)

    Usually the spirals contain the original notes and ideas, until transferred to electronic files, which I frequently backup and have saved multiple places such that novel content and information cannot ever be lost.
     
    peachalulu, jannert and huskies like this.
  5. AndyC
    Offline

    AndyC Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2014
    Messages:
    79
    Likes Received:
    39
    Like Ulramar, I also have a little notebook with me all the time. I like to do short descriptions of the ideas I have, so I can flesh them out later. You never know when inspiration may strike :)

    I keep losing my pens, though.
     
  6. Renee J
    Offline

    Renee J Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2013
    Messages:
    463
    Likes Received:
    214
    Location:
    Reston, VA
    I have a file on googledocs. I use my phone if I'm away from my computer. Sometimes I'll email myself ideas, too.
     
  7. EdFromNY
    Offline

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2010
    Messages:
    4,684
    Likes Received:
    2,534
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    It depends on how firm the idea is. If it's just a vague concept, I'll make a note in a WORD file and save it. If I spend some energy on it and start developing the idea, I'll pop for a spiral notebook and sketch out the idea and some ideas for key characters. I'll also give some thought to what I don't know and have to research, and I'll make notes on that as well. When I start doing the research, I use the same notebook for making notes on it (exception: internet research, which I usually copy and paste to word files, stored in a separate subdirectory for the project.

    BTW, "loose" is the antonym of "tight", as in "stay loose". When you want to make sure you hold on to something, then you don't want to "lose" it.
     
  8. minstrel
    Offline

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Messages:
    8,724
    Likes Received:
    4,821
    Location:
    Near Los Angeles
    I keep notes in a lot of places. I have a small Moleskine notebook I always carry with me. I have several large, hardcover notebooks (usually Moleskines, but I'm trying out other high-end notebooks) in my bedroom and on my desk. I have a couple of idea files on Word I sometimes use. And sometimes, while working on a story in Scrivener, I'll just start making notes in that story's project file about a totally different project. Not very well organized, but organization is for file clerks (no offense, file clerks!).
     
    peachalulu, jannert and huskies like this.
  9. Bryan Romer
    Offline

    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2014
    Messages:
    891
    Likes Received:
    381
    I create a new subdirectory in my writing directory using a tentative title, then make a note in a txt file in it outlining the idea. If I get more ideas I can go back and expand on the initial note.
     
    peachalulu, jannert and huskies like this.
  10. maskedhero
    Offline

    maskedhero Active Member

    Joined:
    May 4, 2013
    Messages:
    365
    Likes Received:
    32
    Location:
    America
    A few ways. If I'm at work, I write it down on paper. If I'm on the go, I write it down on my note taking software on my phone. If I'm at the computer, I keep it in a folder full of short word documents, for that specific purpose. I try not to transfer them, and just keep them for when they come up. It IS fascinating to go BACK to see the old files though...where the story WAS, vs where it ended up.
     
  11. huskies
    Offline

    huskies Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2011
    Messages:
    52
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    England
    Thank you for the replies.

    I think i will do it on the laptop as I'm a sahm so always near it or have my phone.

    How much depth do you go into with you notes.

    Would you put something like Girl walks into a bar to discover its a biker bar and one of the guys catches her eye they go on to have a romance, she ends up saving his life when a rival gang set up on them.

    Or

    Melanie pulled up out side a bar called castles, it looked like a dive but she just needed to stop it had been a long night. The door was filthy and she could already smell the stench of cigarette smoke leaking out.
    when she opened the door she immediately had that sinking feeling as all the eyes turned on her. All the men in the bar had the same jacket on and it didn't take a genius to figure out it was a biker bar.
    She was going to walk straight back out she even turned slightly ready to run, when she saw him standing with the snooker que.

    Well something like that, how much depth do you go into?
     
    peachalulu and jannert like this.
  12. huskies
    Offline

    huskies Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2011
    Messages:
    52
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    England
    Also do you give it a name straight away as well just so it has a title?
     
  13. jannert
    Offline

    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2013
    Messages:
    7,807
    Likes Received:
    7,325
    Location:
    Scotland
    I ALWAYS carry a notebook with me ...even a tiny one when I'm out walking. Ideas strike me all the time, and it's annoying to know you had a great one, and it's vanished. My big problem is I've got lots of notebooks. So I need to put my 'thoughts' into some order.

    I'm not working on lots of projects, so that helps. But I've set up a general overview file for my WIP book, plus a separate file on my computer for every scene I plan to write. As dialogue and ideas for that scene crop up in my notebooks, I transfer them into my computer file. I do complete exchanges of dialogue, a few choice words, or just a general overview of what I want to happen in that scene.

    Of course it's a dog's breakfast, but when I go to write the scene all these ideas are collected together. Probably about 90% of them get chucked out, but 10% of my random ideas will form my scene...
     
  14. ChaosReigns
    Offline

    ChaosReigns Be Still and Know Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2013
    Messages:
    1,090
    Likes Received:
    455
    Location:
    Canterbury, Kent, United Kingdom
    like @jannert i have a lot of notebooks (including one that has the start of book 3 to my current series in it) but unlike them, mines not as well organised... i have got loads of books of notes on random stuff that i probably wont use at all
     
    jannert likes this.
  15. jannert
    Offline

    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2013
    Messages:
    7,807
    Likes Received:
    7,325
    Location:
    Scotland
    Oh, I didn't mean to imply I'm well-organised! In fact, I've got lots of wee notebooks lying around that I haven't got around to transcribing into my computer. Lots to do, lots to do...! :eek:
     
    huskies likes this.
  16. EdFromNY
    Offline

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2010
    Messages:
    4,684
    Likes Received:
    2,534
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    What is a "sahm"?

    If I've got enough to justify a notebook, I'll start with the basic premise and layout the plot idea in outline form. I'll only include details that strike me as important and that I don't think II'll want to change.
     
  17. huskies
    Offline

    huskies Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2011
    Messages:
    52
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    England
    sorry different forum sahm is stay at home mother.
     
  18. mg357
    Offline

    mg357 Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2012
    Messages:
    368
    Likes Received:
    33
    I use a MoleSkine Notebook
     
  19. prettyprettyprettygood
    Offline

    prettyprettyprettygood Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    Messages:
    452
    Likes Received:
    46
    Location:
    Edinburgh
    I put notes in my phone; sometimes I can even make sense of them later.
     
    huskies likes this.
  20. peachalulu
    Offline

    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    May 20, 2012
    Messages:
    3,829
    Likes Received:
    2,382
    Location:
    occasionally Oz , mainly Canada
    I carry a huge purse, with about three spiral bound notebooks - the type you get at the dollarstore. I tried buying fancy ones but I kept thinking that's for the good stuff and didn't write anything in them. Buying them cheap lets me know I can write anything and everything in them which I usually do. They're filled with random shopping lists, strange observations, book lists, everything. I'm not concerned about 'losing' these observations as I mainly do it to keep me always in the mindframe of observing and putting those observations into words - that way when I sit down it flows.
    Mostly I take the time to write a small opening scene because it's easier to get into the mind frame and pick up the story when I have the time seeing where I was coming from - here's a clip from a story that's sitting on the sidelines -
    - From Squishy

    Now usually I write a blurb but sometimes a blurb doesn't have the same magic as that opening scene and the idea dies on paper or in the folder - for instance the Squishy blurb could read - Anthropomorphic tale of a teddy who goes from prized Christmas present to the trash bin.
    If I do go the blurb route - and I do, I try and keep it sounding like the back of a book - exciting, informative, hint of a plot. But brief.

    Do both. The more interesting bits and pieces you have you'll be able to revive that interest in the idea. Well, that's what works for me anyway.
     
    huskies and jannert like this.
  21. jannert
    Offline

    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2013
    Messages:
    7,807
    Likes Received:
    7,325
    Location:
    Scotland
    Totally love the teddy bear already...!
     
    huskies and peachalulu like this.
  22. minstrel
    Offline

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Messages:
    8,724
    Likes Received:
    4,821
    Location:
    Near Los Angeles
    I go into whatever depth is necessary, and that's usually a lot of depth! I've written stories where the accumulated notes for the story wind up being twice as long as the story itself. This isn't something I'm proud of, but I'm not ashamed of it, either. I enjoy making notes. :)
     
    sunsplash, Tesoro and huskies like this.
  23. Tesoro
    Offline

    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2011
    Messages:
    2,825
    Likes Received:
    290
    Location:
    A place with no future
    I write them in notebooks. As much or little as I need to capture the idea. Everything goes there, from one-sentence-story ideas to pieces of dialogue and entire outlines. Love notebooks!
     
    huskies and minstrel like this.
  24. maskedhero
    Offline

    maskedhero Active Member

    Joined:
    May 4, 2013
    Messages:
    365
    Likes Received:
    32
    Location:
    America

    I try to keep my notes sparse, unless a sentence really speaks to me. There's time to modify the sentence later...the details of the story are just the framework.

    Think of it as the skeleton, and later you add the muscle, fat, and organs...then wrap it up with skin. Voila, creature...er...story.
     
    huskies likes this.
  25. Link the Writer
    Offline

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2009
    Messages:
    11,218
    Likes Received:
    4,226
    Location:
    Alabama, USA
    I'm the exact opposite. :D I store much of my information in my head, because I don't know how to organize my notes, and I'm afraid I'll get so into my notes that I'll forget the writing part. :p This is not a good strategy, I'm told and they're right. I forget character names, their motivation, sometimes even what that plot was about in the first place. I really need to start a document for the notes.
     
    Vandor76 likes this.

Share This Page