1. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    How do you organize your notes?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Tesoro, Feb 22, 2012.

    Hi everyone, I have recently come across a little problem. When I start a new story I assign a notebook just for that one, where I can scribble down all the things that comes to mind during the process. The problem is that then I also have to keep a notebook in my purse where I write random things that comes to mind regarding ANY of my stories while I'm away from home. And sometimes when I am about to fall asleep I get these great ideas for one of my stories and just grab the nearest notebook available, which doesn't always happen to be the right one, so Now I have my notes literally everywhere, totally mixed up, and in the notebook that was supposed to keep ideas for one particular story you might just as well find some ideas for other novels as well. It's a mess, actually and I don't know how to stay organized with all these notebooks lying around everywhere. I think I have like 10 or more notebooks right now (for the four or five stories in total) plus the one in my bag and I never find the things I was looking for when I need them for reference anymore. Arrgghh. Does anyone have a good advice on how to organize them? I like to keep the notebooks because I really like handwriting, it feels so creative, plus I can't get up and turn on the computer everytime I get an idea in that state when I'm half asleep...
    Help!
     
  2. Jamez
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    Jamez Member

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    How about: keep one in your purse, another next to your bed. Transfer any useful notes you make there to the other note books, which are strictly dedicated to a particular story idea.

    That's what I would do, if I were a note taker.
     
  3. Nakhti
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    Nakhti Banned

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    Oh, um... organise notes? er... don't know much about that. I tend to write ideas on anything to hand, like post its or whatever bits of printed material are in my handbag, and then I just shove them in my writing folder at home. Most of the time I forget I've even got them, but I think the act of writing them down just helps me remember, so I don't really need them.

    Maybe you could use colour coding - get some little sticky tabs (don't know what they're called) and every time you write a random story idea in your 'everything' note book, put a coloured tab sticking out of the page. If you have enough colours you could assign each story it's own colour, otherwise you could write the story name (or keyword) on the tab to help you find it?
     
  4. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thanks for the tips, they were both interesting. Jamez, I can't believe I didn't think of it. :rolleyes: I think I'll take your advice. One purse notebook and one bedside table one, then I transfer what I've written in them to the other ones. Simple yet effective. :)
     
  5. 1000screams
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    1000screams Member

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    I don't write notes. I tend to lose notebooks and pieces of paper. I either keep the information in my head, like I've played a scene over and over in my head and it doesn't take me much to recount where I was going with it when I sit down to actually write it. Or, I keep my MP3 player with me at all times (it's a little not fancy one) that has the ability to voice record. I'll record notes to myself and then load them onto my computer for later use. Sometimes I act out dialog that way too...which is always amusing to listen to later. Just have to make sure your MP3 player takes SD cards, so you'll have enough space to record and have your music. Organizing audio notes I toss them into the file my story is in, and just label them with a date.
     
  6. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I carry a little Moleskine notebook with me at all times. Anything I think of for any story I'm working on gets written in there. It even contains the better part of the first draft of a short story I wrote a while ago.

    Often, when I'm at my desk writing, I write by hand in a school notebook. I write the text of the story only on the right-hand pages. I write notes and revisions on the left-hand pages. John Steinbeck used to use a variant of that method, and it works. I also use pens of different colors to differentiate between notes, revisions, and whatever else I'm doing. When I've filled a notebook, it looks wonderful, full of color and random BS like a piece of modern art. Fun!
     
  7. Papillon
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    Papillon New Member

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    I use the note function on my phone to remember my ideas, and then I write them down on a word document afterwards.

    But sometimes I just like the feel of writing notes on paper, which has lead to an enormous amount of papers on my desk.
    Eventually, I put some notes on my blackboard as a mind-map, it helps to keep my thoughts focused
     
  8. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Microsoft Word and desktop folders. :)

    I don't really have "notes" or "outlines" in the official sense, but I do a lot of long statements and explanations that help me solidify my ideas. Normally I'll do one such write-up for the overall plot progression, then one each for the main driving characters. For the character ones, I include things like their motivations and key events and turning points, not personality styles and quirks (those come into play on their own as I write).
     
  9. Lily J.
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    Lily J. Member

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    I don't really have a structure on how to organize my notes. There are notebooks everywhere around the house and in my bag, so I can write down whatever comes to mind. Afterwards I just type it over in to Word. :)
     
  10. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Organize? New word for the day... :D
     
  11. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hehehe. :) I know! Actually that sparked a new question:
    Does the seat of the pants-writers even take notes? When I think of it, that would be almost as bad as planning, right? :rolleyes:
     
  12. Youniquee
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    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

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    I take notes/ideas if I have paper with me. If I don't, I just keep in my head somehow. Like today for example, I wrote some 'ideas', not really notes, about a short story on my English homework lol. When I'm making notes/ideas, I usually have them on a Word document where I do all my loose planning. Planning a little bit isn't so bad :D
     
  13. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'll jot down notes about ideas that come as I'm writing, and plaster on the pc screen or wall. But most notes are about what I'm actually working on at the time, so they either go or stay within an hour or so. Ideas for new stories get shoved into a pc file - which I may or may not be able to make sense of later. :p
     
  14. Saul-hudson
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    Saul-hudson New Member

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    I think I have only ever made notes for two specific stories through the whole time I've been writing. For me notes don't work, and I only actually plan 3 major events in my stories because I like the organic process of writing. I tend to find plotting puts you in a box you feel you need to stick to ... but the way I write allows my characters to lead me in and out of situations.

    That may not be the way everyone does it, but it works for me. :)
     
  15. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have one of those huge pens that can write with different colors, and I use a different colors for each story. I keep all my notes in the same notebook, so I had to make up some kind of system.
     
  16. jo spumoni
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    jo spumoni Active Member

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    To be honest, I've never worried much about organizing my notes. However, maybe for the notebook in your purse, you should buy a book where you can tear the pages out easily. If you have an additional notebook for each story, you can then paperclip or staple these additional pages to the inside cover of it. If you take notes in the purse notebook, I would label what story the notes pertained to in the margins so that if I was just flipping through it one day, I'd see where it was supposed to go.
     
  17. Daydream
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    Daydream Contributing Member Contributor

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    My notes are the least organised notes...I tend to write down any ideas I get on whatever I have at hand. That includes my hand, mobile, sticky notes, uni books, etc, etc :p It's pretty horrid actually...
     
  18. Mark_Archibald
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    Mark_Archibald Active Member

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    That's why its great to leave your notes in a random mess. You'll read them one day and find good and horrible ideas that you had years ago.
     
  19. Felipe
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    Felipe Active Member

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    Notes?
     
  20. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Rarely. ;)

    I guess it depends what I'm working on though.
     
  21. aimi_aiko
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    aimi_aiko Contributing Member

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    Keep a handy amount of sticky notes nearby. If you feel like your about to grab the wrong notebook, jot your ideas down on the sticky note first, place it in the notebook then later check and see if that was the right notebook... this would make it more convienient in your situation that way you are able to remove your notes from one notebook to the correct one. Am I making sense here? I mean, that's what I would do. But your idea of assigning a notebook to each story is a really good idea... I haven't thought of that one... I've just been jotting all my ideas in the same book.
     
  22. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I like your idea too! Keeping post-its at hand is quite easy, but I've only done that once, (when brainstorming for the last novel, but they then ended up on the fridge, in the order I thought they would come in the story. Your idea takes it a step further. Great! *making a mental note about it* :)
     
  23. aimi_aiko
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    aimi_aiko Contributing Member

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    Glad I helped ;)
     
  24. Anniexo
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    I don't write notes per say, but I have written the names of the countries of my fantasy world in the back of the book I'm writing in just in case I forget how to spell them.
     
  25. Felipe
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    Felipe Active Member

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    When I got to the second and third books, I'd have to go back to find the name of a particular ship or person, so I do keep a list of key parts or names of people. I do this on a separate "word" document, but don't jot down notes during the day as I can generally remember what I want to write or say.
     

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