Story notes are important. You get more and more of them as the story progresses. Also, sometimes I just need to look up how tall your MC’s mother is and I rarely remember that type of thing offhand and searching through the WiP is so so so annoying.
So for that there is OneNote. OneNote is my favorite program for keeping notes.
I can’t write the WiP on it and you don’t know how much that frustrates me. I want to note-take and write in the same space. Which is not to say that OneNote doesn’t have a word processing thing – you can use it as a word-processor. But trying to write a story in it just annoys me.
But it is perfect for keep tracking of all the story elements – characters, magical creatures, magic, ranks and so and so forth. I think it would be pretty good for keeping track for normal project-type researching, too.
When you cope and paste something from the web, it automatically writes down the web address, too. OneNote doesn’t force you into a particular format, either, like word. (Yes, word’s frequent formatting issues irritate me.) You can write or draw or do whatever you, wherever you want it. It’s almost like a real notebook. Only digital.
It’s perfect for use on tablet pc (a real tablet, not of those iPad-ish things) but I have it on my desktop. You could probably write directly on it; it allows handwriting recognition. If I had one of those tablet pcs, I am pretty sure I would use it a lot more than I do.
So . . . how do you keep track of the all your story notes?
I don’t use writing software. I will admit to using OneNote to keep track of character profiles, research, and world building items – notes on magical rules, nobility, geography and so on. When writing a fantasy novel, I would use a separate notebook to keep track of things. It seemed easier to use OneNote. I don’t have a laptop and even though OneNote is designed for the tablet PC, it works just fine on my desktop computer. Also, the files don’t get lost. My notebook migrates frequently around the house (I swear, the things have legs!). So I end up using a different notebook. Than I end up confusing and frustrating myself when I need to back and look up a detail. A computer file is better all around and I don’t have the formatting issues I had with word when I tried to use that to write world building type notes.
I don’t use OneNote for the actual writing. I suppose I could, but writing on word is just better (it has much prettier word processing functions).
I have discovered other people use purpose built writing software to write stories. Novels and screenplays. Who know? I certainly didn’t!
There are scrivener, dramatica pro, storybook, final draft and I don’t know how many others. Scrivener appears to be very popular, but it is also only for macs. It also seems to be expensive. Such writing software is supposed to help with story structure. I am going to try out storybook. Maybe it will help with the novel in progress.
Why storybook? Because it is open source, it works with windows and it is for novels. Quite a few pieces of writing software are mac only or are designed for screenplays and are expensive to boot. But also because I like what the website says about different views – seeing scenes chronically, a view for seeing which scene is in which chapter (thinking I could use this for planning), and a book view. They have a thing for keeping track of plot lines (each line is colored differently) and time lines. I also like what it says about chapters and scenes and all. They seem flexible enough that can I move scenes here and there. I do that anyway in word (and get mightily irritated when I want to switch scenes around and run into word issues). I really like the chart thing. It is supposed to show which characters are where and when and a lot more. Anyway, I am going to try it out. Hopefully it will work.