1. Tinja
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    Tinja Member

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    Writing notes about your story.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Tinja, Sep 3, 2008.

    I started to take notes yesterday about my book, it's part 3, and part 1 is already done. In between them is one book (lets call it number 2), not about the same MC (even they belong to same book series). 1 and 3 are about the same MC.
    But the thing is; with book number 1 it took almost 100 pages of notes, and years and years of thinking. Book number 2 only reguired about 10 pages of notes, it was purily born out of inspiration of moment.
    But with this book number tree it seems to take massive amounts of notes, and I'm already bored writing them down. It seems it's going to take ages to get to actuall writing process...
    Why is this? Don't get it? Creative mind? Or what?
    Anyone have similar experience?
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I personally think youjr manuscript is the best set of "notes". Everything changes over time, and also may change in revision. Separate notes are at best a snapshot of your story at a certain point on two time scales, writer time and story time.

    Maybe, just maybe, there are some concrete details you want to collect in a small text file, but for the most part, I think side notes are mostly a waste of time.

    By the time you are done writing, proofing, and revising, you will undoubtedly know your story inside out anyway.
     
  3. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    The kinds of notes that I think are good to keep are from research, like historical details. Story notes, not really, since it is ever evolving. One good thing to do is keep a list of characters and facts about them that you need to keep in mind.
     
  4. Ommonite
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    Ommonite Senior Member

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    A list of characters is good, but only make a time line of the major plots, as the details are constantly changing.

    An overall plot outline, anywhere from 2 to 10 pages should be enough, is also a good idea, but let's not even call that "notes"
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Characters are in constant flux as well, both in writer time and in story time. I suppose keeping track of name, gender, eye color, hair color MIGHT be helpful, especially for minor characters (extras and bit players). MOST of those attributes probably will remain the same throughout the story...
     
  6. DarkMaiden273
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    DarkMaiden273 Member

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    The only notes I take are on my characters, a Character Chart, and spur of the moment ideas I hurriedly write down on a piece of paper I find. As has been said in other posts, your story changes and evolves so taking notes may even hinder you by just being confusing later as you may have added or cut out that part of the story.
     
  7. BellLily
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    BellLily New Member

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    I write fantasy 90% of the time. So, I'll jot down notes on the characters, and the world/cultures around them. Sometimes I'll write down a very vague time line, but that's super rare. I usually remember the major plot, and everything between is usually very changeable.
     
  8. AnonyMouse
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    AnonyMouse Contributing Member Contributor

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    I took three pages of notes beforehand. Now that I've started writing, they're practicaly useless. I'm acually adding useful things onto the notes as I go. For example, I mentioned my main character's address in chapter 1 aswell as a lot of personal information. Had to write all that down, in case it comes up again. That's what notes are good for; continuity.
     
  9. jman1217
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    jman1217 Member

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    I usually just take notes to get storyline ideas out of my head and onto paper (or text document) all of which can be altered as I go along. I also write a short backstory on all of my characters, listing important events that led them to the present. For me, writing notes is just a good way to keep the story organized, instead of floating around in my head, susceptible to forgetfulness.
     
  10. Tinja
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    Tinja Member

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    thanks 4 all replies =)

    I think one reason why I write so many notes is that I need to organizt them, in my head they are just a huge pile of words. And writing them down is a good method to get my mind working.
    And I almost have an opsession to keep thing organized. I love lists and notes.
     
  11. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    I know you've already gotten awesome comments & advice, but I just wanted to say that I've gone through what you're describing. I've started and killed 2 novels because I spent too much time planning out the little bitty details, googling stuff, taking tons of notes, and...never actually writing. :eek: Oops! I thought I had to know every aspect of my characters and have my plot fully detailed before I could start writing. The problem was that after a while "writing" was really all about researching and note taking. In the end, I totally lost interest in the stories.

    I'm working on my 3rd story now, and I have about 10 or so pages of notes, but that's all. I don't have everything worked out yet, but I do know what happens at the start of my story, so I've gone ahead and begun working on that part. Now the old me would have not wanted to start Chapter 1 when I don't know all the details of what will happen in Chapter 2. Well, the new me is trying to be more "organic" :D and trust in my love of my 2 main characters and the overall direction that I want my story to go in. So now I'm writing a little bit every day, but I'm also pondering more about the conflicts/situations that will occur and the general issues that'll need to be dealt with. I'm also thinking about my other characters and deciding in my mind who they are. But I think as I go further in my writing, it will actually help me to know how the next chapter needs to unfold, and I'll bet it'll be way better than if I tried to write Chapter 2 based on lots and lots of notes.
     

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