1. StormWarrior
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    StormWarrior Member

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    Organising your thoughts.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by StormWarrior, Aug 5, 2008.

    I'm extremely disorganised and scatterbrained. The notes I have made for my novel are currently strewn about my bedroom floor on the backs of envelopes and chocolate wrappers. I need to go to a stationery shop and buy some books or something.

    How do you organise your writing? Do you have, say, a notebook for jotting down ideas as they come to you, a big pad of paper for first drafts and a CD rom on which to actually write the thing?

    What about notes that you have made, and now feel sure you won't use? Do you throw them away or save them for a rainy day? What colour pen do you write with? Do you think it makes a difference?

    Any other organisational tips?
     
  2. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    When I'm at home, I usually just type any ideas that come to me on the same document that I'm writing on, and then I just edit the ideas to fit in the novel.

    At school, I have a 2nd notebook that I take out when I'm in class. I usually get bored in class, so I just think up ideas and jot them down on that 2nd notebook. Usually I don't have to refer back to them, but it's a good idea to have notes just in case you do forget something. BTW, I use a pencil. I don't think different colors or pens will make any difference for me.

    For organization, I would make an outline so that you get an idea of where you're headed. Then, it's just a matter of expanding on that outline to make a novel. However, other people may not need an outline, and they just write whatever comes to mind (like me). Also, remember to go back and edit to make sure your novel is well organized.
     
  3. Ungood
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    Ungood Contributing Member

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    I use a cheep lined note pad for ideas, what ever hits me I write. When I jot an idea down on something like a candy wrapper or what have you, I tape that into the note book for later use.

    other then that - I just get a feel for what I want to write and then when I get the chance to sit at my computer I start to type out the story.
     
  4. draupnir
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    draupnir Member

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    I write on random bits of paper/receipts etc and put them in a growing pile on my floor, and then every few months I go back through all this stuff, staple it together and put it in a wallet file in an A4 ringbinder, and type up all the poems collected in it to the computer. I don't often compose straight to the PC.

    I plan to start using notebooks soon though because I get too many ideas/fragments that don't get typed to PC so just get lost in an old folder.
     
  5. TwinPanther13
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    TwinPanther13 Contributing Member

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    I use notebooks. My problem is that I have so many lying around that i may have ideas about the same thing in different books. The only reason I like that is because when I am looking for something for a particular story I remember other ideas that are waiting to be used.

    I also have a tendecy to write a lot of back story for characters and places. There is a novel I am working on that I wrote a short story about each persons life before I started.
     
  6. Leo
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    Leo Senior Member

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    I tend to write stories on the computer, and then print then off to edit them. In black. It's easier to read through when its on paper rather than a screen, and easier to jot notes on, I find.

    Or for vague, random ideas, I have a growing A4 pad by my bed. Which just gets random paper added to it when needed.
     
  7. dushechka
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    dushechka Contributing Member

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    I like to keep all my notes in a book, but sometimes I end up writing them on random pieces of paper.
    As far as organization goes, I think the best way is to keep everything together in one spot. Say in a box, or in a binder. Just something to make sure nothing is lost.
    I keep (usually) all of my notes; I like to re-read them later on for other ideas.
     
  8. RomanticRose
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    RomanticRose Active Member

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    I don't compose on the computer; I only transcribe daily work to OpenOffice.

    Each novel-length project begins with 2 things. It's own marble front composition book for the novel itself and a steno pad for character work, timelines, outlines, backstory, etc. I use black ink, but keep a red pen handy to mark something I want to look at or research later and to make notes to myself.

    On the computer, when I begin a new project I set up a folder for it. One OO doc is for the story itself, another OO doc is for cuts, and another doc is for research (websites, usually).
     
  9. Chef Dave
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    Chef Dave Member

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    I use the hard drive on my computer. I have a file for my story. Within this file I have a file for the story itself and additional files for research.

    One of the stories I am presently working on is a fantasy set in 12th century, Northern China. The file for this story includes files for information on the military, fantasy and magic, urban and village life, technology, religious beliefs, customs, culinary arts, literature, economy, and law and government. I also have a picture file and a map file.
     
  10. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    Can't you just use a normal notebook or printer paper...? You don't need to invest in anything special to keep notes. I read in a book on journaling once about how when people buy special fancy journals to write in, they usually end up not writing in them at all, since they think the books are far too nice to put regular journaling in--they end up "saving them for something special" which never comes. To go to the trouble of buying nice stationery to take notes just seems like a waste of time and money better spent on the actual writing. :confused:

    If I spent a great deal of time organizing notes then I'd never get to writing any stories. I realize many people have to take notes, and I do take some, but when I see people agonize over organizing them, and spending so much time on them...I wonder how far the writing itself gets?

    I just write the thing. I don't take notes. I took notes for one story once that I was heavily researching, and that helped with small details, but in the end it just took up a lot of time that I could have spent writing. I only finally got started writing the thing because the computer monitor died and I couldn't type up my notes anymore! And I ended up not using most of the notes anyway. Most of the really important stuff just stays in my head. Then again, this might be because I write fantasy, and even though it's based on existing cultures (meaning I do have to know some stuff), I take liberties as well. I just tend to remember the things I really want to include in the stories, I guess. Any notes I take are in Notepad or something on the computer.

    No big notebook, no big pad of paper, no CD-ROM. I just open up Wordpad and write.

    (OH. Though at the moment, I am taking small notes in some books I'm reading! Forgot. :redface: But they're just on little slips of paper from a notepad and I'll probably type them up when I'm done. I keep the papers in the books I'm taking notes from.)

    I wouldn't throw them away, if I had them. (Somewhere I still have the folder of notes I took for the story mentioned above.) But I'm obsessive-compulsive and don't throw most things away.

    I don't write with any color pen since I type. I really don't think it would make a difference. o_O Again it just seems like a distraction from actually writing the story, to wonder what color pen one should use! But maybe that's just me. Perhaps different color pens help some people. I wouldn't know. Writing by hand is too slow for me. I tried taking color-coded notes once and it was just too time consuming and confusing.

    Whatever works for you and helps you actually write the story! So if you believe buying some nice stationery and a colored pen will put you on track, then do that. And then write the thing. :D
     
  11. inkslinger
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    inkslinger Contributing Member

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    Bad thing is, I don't organize it... not really. :D lol, I mean, I have a notebook for jotting down my ideas, but I almost never use it. I also have some word docs full of different story ideas and plot points, etc., but don't really use that either. I usually come up with the stuff I use for my writing when I'm at work or doing something routine, like eating. I just try to keep those ideas or interesting thoughts for story pieces in my head.... which is the problem, because I usually end up forgetting what I came up with, aha. Really, though, I never really make a habit of writing it down on paper or typing it in word doc; I don't think that sort of organization is for me, since I usually never keep to it. The only thing I'm consistent in, is typing a document full of basic key facts to my story at the time. That's necessary, imo, as far as for when I as an individual work/write.

    Anywho, long ramble summed up into a sentence: I don't organize, because I'm lazy (that's probably it) and I take the chance that my good ol' memory will keep hold of it all (which it doesn't, but oh well). :)
     
  12. psyence53
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    psyence53 Senior Member

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    I would write loads of notes and the paper would get crumply and that's something i can't stand, crumply paper. So i would put them away and lose interest, or waste time rewriting them onto clean paper... lol. Or write random stuff on computer in a random folder or just end up scattered.... lousy.

    BUT now i'm starting to plan a new story idea and i want to do it properly. I have my printer back, and bought some coloured paper, white paper, nice pens, and i'm going to make a shortlist of fonts to use and will colour code things and print pictures and make things ncie. I hate mess, so I'm HOPING by being mroe organised and aesthetic, it will make things easier for me. As an ex-media student, i'm very visual. Then I will comprise a folder of everything, scripts and novel excerpts...

    I should tidy my room soon too... do it all properly haha.
    But i feel sick, so it's all go procrastination atm :p
     
  13. Lalis
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    Lalis New Member

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    Hmm. Hard to say - I usually organise it all in my head and don't write it out until it's been played around with. A LOT. So my tip? Use a computer, then you'll keep all notes in one place.
     
  14. A2theDre
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    A2theDre Active Member

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    I have a dual monitor set up on my computer. On the main monitor I have my word document and on the secondary monitor, I have Microsoft OneNote. OneNote works just like a note pad. Click anywhere and start typing. It also has tabs similar to what you would find in a physical ring binder folder. Quite a useful tool!!!
     
  15. Diviance
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    Diviance Member

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    I made cards for each character on which i write their latest devellopments. I then stick them onto a map which shows their location. I started the story by designing my characters then my locations and then i went on from there. When you have chartacters and a setting all you need to do is give the main protagonist a nudge in a direction and imagine a logical course of actions for that person.
     
  16. topper
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    topper Member

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    I put in another vote for OneNote--it can be as disorganized or organized as you like. I then have a folder with the story in in and any extraneous scenes. I do like having different colored pens, because it makes looking through the notes much less tedious. If you are doing research and have the books for an extended period of time, rather than writing notes you may just want to mark the pages with Post-Its, thereby lessening the abundance of papers. You can write the topic on the Post-It or trust your memory.
     
  17. starseed
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    starseed Contributing Member

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    LOL Chocolate wrappers. :)

    I have all sorts of stuff, it's not really organized but it is for ME. I'm a really messy sort of person, a total slob really, you should see my house. BUT, I'm also the sort of person who never loses things. My mess makes sense to me.

    So, I basically have all the files of my actual story, then I have a file called "random scenes" which is basically where I sit and type dialogue between the characters, just letting conversation flow freely about whatever. My version of two actors doing improv. I don't use most of it but it warms me up when I am a bit blocked and sometimes I come up with really funny dialogue I can use.

    Next I have a my "booknotes" file where I write my goals for the chapter/section I'm working on as well as a million other random notes or ideas. This is also where I save anything that I edit out of the main story, because sometimes a cool sounding paragraph isn't working in one particular section but I can find another use for it later.

    Then I have a bunch of other files for facts about the characters and backstory, but honestly I don't use those much. I don't think I will do as much character work prior to writing my next book. I worked on the characters for a long time before starting the story, but ended up changing their details almost completely by this point, because everything from their personality traits to their hair color just wasn't working.

    Then I have my outline, and pages of random notes that are handwritten. I come up with a lot of ideas while trying to sleep so there is an entire notebook that I had by my bed which is filled up now. All of that I keep in an accordian(sp?) folder.

    :)
     

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