N is for Notes

Author: Anastasia V. Pergakis // Category: ,

This post is going to be another short one for you. How do you keep your story notes organized or your reserach notes? I'm a huge fan of folders and binders (with awesome labels!).

My series are kept in a three ring binder. I have dividers labeled "Characters", "Setting", "Language", and "Misc". Then I have a section for each book where I keep copies of the query letter, synopsis, outline, and other plot things I look at often.

The Characters section contains all the character sketches I make. It also has the timelines I make for each character. If I can, I'll include pictures I find that look like the characters or print out the avatars I sometimes create.

The Setting section includes all the setting sketches - for the different countires, notes about the cities, descriptions of the specific buildings the characters might visit. I also include any notes about the history of the country.

The Language section is where I keep any notes and translations for the languages I make up for my characters. (My L post from a few days ago can tell you more about what goes into this section.

The Misc section is where I keep stuff that doesn't go anywhere else. Perhaps a poem, random pictures that make me think of the story, songs that inspire me, etc.

As the series progresses, all of these sections get pretty thick with all the notes and sketches I make. I like keeping all of it in one place lik this, rather than having each book in it's own notebook. (It also prevents me from having multiple copies of things as the same characters and locations sometimes appear throughout the series).

Now, for research notes, those are all in their own notebook. Since most all my stories are set in times similar to the medieval ages, I keep all of that information in one place. Again to keep myself from reprinting the same information over and over again.

The research notebook has the following sections: General, Ranks/Titles, Weapons/Warfare, Slang/Talk, Lifestyles, Sea/Sailing, Clothing, Living/Houses. I will surely add more as time goes along and I write more books, but this works for now. It's jam packed with information and pictures that I use (and reuse) throughout my books. I would die without this notebook!

What about you? How do you keep your story notes and research notes organized? Do you even print them out or keep them just on your computer? (I have the notebooks I described above and also have the same set up in files on my computer).

7 Responses to "N is for Notes"

Pk Hrezo Says :
April 16, 2011 at 8:10 AM

I have story bibles for each one, which consists of a spiral notebook. They hold all my notes and outlines and character sketches. If they get too messy, I rewrite them in a fresh notebook. I find writing them out helps enforce the story in my head.

Laura Says :
April 16, 2011 at 9:01 AM

Ha - PK - I have a story bible too! - then the scenes and important points go on index cards that can be added to and swapped about - I end up this way with a skeleton 'book in a box'. Interesting post

Pam Torres Says :
April 16, 2011 at 12:07 PM

Man, Anastasia what some information packed posts! I really like the notebook idea. I have actually been thinking about moving in that direction. I have folders where I keep everything related to a specific project. I look forward to seeing the rest of the alphabet. Happy I found you.

The Blogger Girlz Says :
April 16, 2011 at 5:22 PM

I keep both a writer's notebook and a scrap book for each of my stories. The writer's notebook is packed with time lines, plot points, diagrams, ect while the scrapbooks contain photos, paintings, drawings, etc. I don't know what I'd do without these two tools.
- Aaron

Slloyd14 Says :
April 17, 2011 at 4:20 AM

Great post. I always have a notebook with me, but I need to get organised and put different ideas for different books into different notebooks.

Anastasia V. Pergakis Says :
April 17, 2011 at 10:32 AM

PK: Oh that's a great idea! I print out one copy then hand write notes as I write. Only once in a while do I print a fresh copy in an attept to save paper. It helps enforce the story for me too.

Laura: Book in a box? That's interesting. Might have to try that for scene outlines or something. I bet it really helps.

Pam: Thank so much Pam! I'm glad you are liking my posts! If there is any topic you'd like me to talk about in the future, please let me know.

Aaron: That's awesome! I'd love to make a real scrapbook of photos from my story. Might try that out this week in fact! I bet it's fun.

Slloyd: I always carry a notebook with me too to take down notes while I'm away from the house. But, then I make sure to rewrite or put the info into the correct folder when I do get home.

Sarah Allen Says :
April 17, 2011 at 7:48 PM

Great ideas! I hadn't thought of organizing things like this before. Thanks for sharing :)

Sarah Allen
(my creative writing blog)

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