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  1. ObsidianVale

    ObsidianVale Member

    Jun 11, 2009
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    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by ObsidianVale, Sep 13, 2009.

    hey all!!

    ok so i have a question about research. I find that when i research i get very easily overwhelmed and i accumulate alot of notes. what are some ways that you find that work for organizing your notes ( and/ or) ideas.

    if this topic is already somewhere please direct me to it!!!

  2. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

    Nov 30, 2006
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    Ohio, USA
    The first step is knowing what you need to know, at least for me.

    Then I break it down into various categories and create files. With the internet, often what I do is copy the link to a word file. Somtimes if it is something that I think is likely to disappear, I either copy and paste it to the same file, or I print it out and keep it in a folder, which I keep in a file container.

    I label each file folder (paper or online) and each individual file appropriately, so that I know what it contains. I will group files together.

    For example, I was researching black holes for a short story I was writing. I collected different informaiton on the types of black holes and theoretical effects. I also collected images and diagrams.

    I read through them all, to give me an idea of how it would fit into the storyline (a confrontation of several space fighter aircraft that begins outside of a black hole's event horizon). I took a few hand notes that filled a page.

    Then as I wrote the story, I double checked the effects (radiation, gravitional pull, what it might look like for a vessel entering an event horizon from someone on the outside, etc.) by going back to the articles.

    Since I was going to use a non-rotational, stellar-mass black hole I focused on that type.

    Of course, I attempted to get serveral sources, comparing notes to be sure I had the best/most current information.

    That is my example. However, what works for me or somebody else, may not work for you. It is important, however, to be organized. I think much moreso for a novel than for a short story. With a novel, years may go into writing it, and by the time it is accepted for publication and you're working with your editor another year may have passed. That is a long time to remember a lot of facts and bits of information that seemed relevant and easy to recall several years, and an number of stories/novels ago. So having that handy when the editorial process begins certainly is a good thing.

    As it turns out, the story "Seconds to Eternity" was accepted for publication by Aberrant Dreams, and should appear early next year.

  3. AmandaC

    AmandaC Member

    Sep 13, 2009
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    I'm terrible with organizing random thoughts. I'll be at work and get an idea and then scribble it down on the nearest piece of paper I can find only to lose it until I clean out my purse or do my laundry. Research is different. I'm a fan of post its, notebooks and index cards. Keep it simple.
  4. Dcoin

    Dcoin Contributing Member

    Sep 2, 2008
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    Try not accumulating too many notes before actually using them to write.

    For example, if you are researching a scene, write a draft and only then move onto the next bit of research. I've always had an easier time chunking my work as opposed to doing it all at once.
  5. lipton_lover

    lipton_lover Contributing Member

    Sep 19, 2008
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    I don't think you need to organize specifically. I have very messy notes from things dragged onto my desktop, handwritten notes, bookmarked links, stickies, forum threads, emails, etc. and it just works. I know where things are, and I keep them organized loosely. Like I'll put stuff on the same topic in the same sticky, for instance.


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