1. MustWrite
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    MustWrite Member

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    How do you organise your notes/written paper pages/scriblings etc.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by MustWrite, May 22, 2013.

    I use a computer writing program but if I can't or don't feel like using my laptop I use a pen and paper, also jotting down name ideas, scenes, settings etc, the odd map or two and It all gets stuffed in a carry-bag, I'm currently trying to get all my possible names written down in one place, but the rest is all a big mess.
    I haven't even typed the stuff I wrote on paper into the computer, I guess I want to edit it as I go..

    For those who write their first draft on paper, how do you organize/keep track of it all?
     
  2. ChaosReigns
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    ChaosReigns Be Still and Know Contributor

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    folders and notebooks.. a lot of my original ideas end up on a sheet of paper, which i put in a lever arch, ive lost a lot due to a disappearing folder (hmmm) but now i write horror more than anything that all goes in the same place

    *edit* my actual first drafts of things are always in notebooks, never computerised, all handwritten in my semi-scruffy writing, its my thought process, getting pen to paper slows me down enough to let the story flow, cause ive been known to write some weird things on computer if i go direct, and tend to jump all over the place too i do it that way, this way i dont have that much confusion
     
  3. A.L.Mitchell
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    A.L.Mitchell Active Member

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    Notebooks! Or a pad of paper - you could take it with you and if you have a idea while you are walking, out or doing stuff, then you are able to write it down and you won't forget it. This is what I do.
     
  4. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    I used to keep them in notebooks, but I have so many of them I've lost which ones have which idea...so now I keep everything in a computer folder (and folders within that folder, and so on) and obviously back it up, with only the occasional note scribble here and there, as once I've made the scribbles I write them in word and stick them in a folder. I know it may seem like I'm someone who relies too much on technology, but keeping it all in one place on the PC is damn easy and convenient.
     
  5. fallenn
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    fallenn Member

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    I have most of my stuff on my computer ( Scrivener I love you :love: ) but I've also got a punch of notebooks and my desk is filled with post-it's. Even my phone and ipad have notes that I'm yet to organize to my Scrivener. So far I've managed quite successfully keep most of the stuff on my computer since I keep it open at all times and even now my project is open at the background so it's very easy and convenient to write all my ideas. And I've also solved the problem of having an inspiration whilst trying to sleep by having my ipad under my bed.... I'm not really a fan of handwriting because my focus tends to drift away from the actual idea to "why is my hand writing so ugly." So it's much easier and faster to keep things organized with technology.

    EDIT: ooh almost forgot that I have my own whiteboard. Sometimes when I'm struggling with a family tree or a map it somehow makes it even more fun to work on it on a whiteboard. It makes me feel like a physicist trying to solve a problem. :D
     
  6. rodney adams
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    rodney adams Member

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    I write everything in a Notebook I have. It's only when I have everything completely done that I go to the computer. Even then, I dont have any notes on my laptop, only stories backed up on a flash drive.

    edit: by notebook I mean pen and pad, not a small laptop
     
  7. Aprella
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    Aprella Senior Member

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    Scrivener is amazing for this!

    But I also use notebooks :) for this project I have one so I can still find everything easily hahaha :p
     
  8. shlunka
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    shlunka Member

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    I "organize" my writings by stuffing them in arbitrary document folders on my computer. My written novels/short stories often start and stop over the course of several notebooks. It's not uncommon to find "Continue reading on page 37 in Notebook 5" written below the closing texts of a novel chapter.
     
  9. TimHarris
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    TimHarris Senior Member

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    All my digital notes are carefully placed into folders depending on whether it's poetry, novels, short stories etc.. All my pen and paper notes are stacked in one huge pile next to my desk.
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    My notes rarely exceed a page or two, so I just stick it in the same folder (electronic) as my manuscript. Most of what I need to keep track of is in my head until it spills into the manuscript. In my head, I can literally make adjustments with a thought.
     
  11. heal41hp
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    heal41hp Contributing Member

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    I write all my notes on paper and all of my actual manuscript is in a Word document. I think writing ideas on paper allows it to feel more fluid or it forces me to slow down and think. Or something. I'm not sure of the psychology of that.

    With my notes, it's all in spiral notebooks on college ruled paper that's perforated for easy tear-out. Too often I need a little more information here or there and I've used up that space for something else so I transplant a few loose pages. My outline is a total mess because of this. :D I also try to get the notebooks with subject dividers that have pockets on them. The assignment of each section is arbitrary though. I have one for cultural information because that's what first got written there, another for history, because that's what first got written there, so on and so forth.

    I do have a wonderful little section where I keep all the names ever mentioned in my manuscript, though. I note age, sex, a bit about them, where they are, who their (mentioned) relations are. It's basically just a quick reference.

    I am a little sad I don't have Ctrl-F in my notes, though... Often I find myself scouring through this Frankenstein's monster of a notebook for information I know is in there somewhere but I just can't find it.
     
  12. Sue Almond
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    Sue Almond Member

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    It seems that many creative people are not particularly organised. In the creative proccess ideas flow and breed new thoughts as soon as they form. getting it down anywhere can be difficult. I don´t think that using a notebook or loose leaf folders or computer matters. Use whatever is to hand when the ideas come. What is important though is to label your notes so that if you have redrafted a passage you either discard the original, which you may not want to do for obvious reasons, or in the title put that it is redrafted and the date. If you are the kind of person that does meticulous planning over months before attempting the finsl draft you are probably more organised by nature but if you are impulsive and spontaneous there is little point in a detailed plan. A simple outline or even nothing more than a good starting point work just as well for those who prefer that.This may be worth a look: http://writersend.com/2013/05/06/an-introduction-to-planning-and-plotting-a-novel/
     
  13. Jessica Tilley
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    Jessica Tilley Member

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    I personally love pen and paper. I have a few A5 notebooks that I jot a lot of stuff down in and I ALWAYS make sure I have one in my bag when I leave the house and one on the bedside cupboard. Actually, now that I think about it, I have one in every room of the house. If I have some spare time or I'm relaxing watching a whole season of a TV series I gather all my notes and attempt to organise them.
    If I'm using my MacBook I use a program called Scrivener. It's amazing.
     
  14. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i transcribe all written notes so i'll have them both on paper and on the computer...

    i strongly advise doing the same... you don't want to risk losing that really important one, do you?...
     
  15. Nee
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    Nee Contributing Member

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    Note books on clipboards hung on hooks on the wall under the 8 foot strip of butcher's paper that I use as my novels flow chart. I make changes to the structure as needed by pasting another piece of butcher's paper over the part on the flow chart that is to be changed.

    .
     
  16. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I love this. Kickin' it old school, right, Nee? My only problem with this method is that it requires eight feet of wall space to pin up the butcher paper, and I don't have that here. All our walls are covered with bookcases, my maps (I love maps), or my roommate's art (many of his friends are artists and he collects stuff from them).
     
  17. Nee
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    Nee Contributing Member

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    You can roll it out over the floor when you want to look it over or make changes: I just like seeing it every time I walk by the room or am talking on the phone--it's a form of total immersion into an idea. And being an artist I am very visual and like how easy it is to go from vague to sharp focus, just like a drawing goes from a sketch to highly detailed.

    And yes this is very old school. Bradbury, Heinlien, Herbert, and Barnaby Conrad all thought it was a good idea and encouraged me to continue doing it that way. I miss Ray and Barnaby.
     
  18. Michael O
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    Michael O Contributing Member

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    Easy peasy lemon squeezy! Quit calling your organized pile a mess!

    Accept the fact you will never beat enthalpy, the driving force of the universe to move from order to less ordered and then you will find peace:)

    Think about it.....A new package of pencil, so well ordered in shape, size and color, how do they wind up? Wood ground down to near powder and their carbon content smeared across pages. Bet you have never worried about that.
     
  19. Gracia Bee
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    Gracia Bee Member

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    Notebooks at first. That is where I come up with my ideas and then I use 'writers app' on my Ipad to organise and develop even more but I do put all my inspiration/random things/thought/ideas in Evernote so they all are in the one place. Evernote is a really handy app for writers that organises everything and 'writers app' (as it is very originally called) is great for getting plot, setting and character development. It's very useful.
     
  20. BUDDY GORGEOUS
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    BUDDY GORGEOUS Active Member

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    I had so many notes bound together with elastic bands around the house that my partner bought me a lush Stephen King leather case with 'All work and no play.." quote on the side, to keep them all in. She has always been supportive and didn't want to bin my work by mistake whilst cleaning. I am alot more organised now, haha. But I read recently how George R R Martin doesn't use notes to remember his characters! and as you know there are more than a few. I cant to do that. I have them written down with a brief biography under them. A usual piece of paper in my case is covered with a skeleton of plot and the rest (characters, ideas, dialogue, scenes, research - colour code) are the meat I have applied. The other night I pulled out a much loved copy of Don Winslow Power of the Dog and inside I had left a square piece of paper used as a boomark. Opened it up and it had notes for a story I had long forgotten about, haha. So I have to hold up my hand and admit I haven't always been the most organised. I don't know about the rest of you but I always carry a small spiral note book and pencil incase something comes to me on a long walk or when I am out somewhere, even at work.
     
  21. ChaosReigns
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    ChaosReigns Be Still and Know Contributor

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    ive just got myself another notebook, ok i paid £5.50 for it, but its a plain covered one with plain brown paper inside, also bought a new fountain pen (in purple its one you throw and buy a new one each time job) im hoping that i can at least use this for notes and ideas instead of continually using lined paper
     
  22. Nee
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    Nee Contributing Member

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    I never use lined paper. It interferes with thinking.
     
  23. Nicki_G
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    Nicki_G Member

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    Everything is on paper, handwritten or typed and in notebooks and folders which are in a designated drawer in the living room. I don't have them organized any other way. I tried to sort into folders by fiction, poetry, and playwriting, but then I found that my writings take on multiple forms. So I scratched that...
     
  24. ProsonicLive
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    ProsonicLive Senior Member

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    I use Word for my manuscript,but I have so many ideas that I have to organize them. Most of the time, I will use notepad to itemize elements especially for ideas that do not have to do with my current work. Things like elements for an epic space trilogy that I have shelved at the moment. Elements would include ship types, races, race characteristics, government or anything that can be used for later.
    I also have a miscellaneous folder for universal ideas for character architypes to draw from at random when i need a character to work with. It helps when I do this because I have preset rules to work with.
    You may or may not know how much more difficult it makes it when you are trying to define your character at the same time defining your story. In this way you can say "oh yeah, They would never do this or think that." therefore you have a rough set of rules to go by.
     
  25. ChaosReigns
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    ChaosReigns Be Still and Know Contributor

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    i get what you mean with that, Twinsanity (my horror piece) originally started out on plain paper...
     

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