Saturday, July 21, 2012

Organizing Ideas


Total number of words on The Language of the Unheard: 52,251 (yeah, I haven't worked on it at all)

Rejections of Finding Innisburg: 0

Books read in the last week: 9.25

Entries into the library's drawing for a Kindle: 3

Well, first off, for anyone who has been keeping track, I passed my state nursing assistant exam on Thursday, so I'm officially a CNA.  Yay!

So today I want to talk about organizing.  Yeah.  I know.  Writers are not really known for their organizational skills, but I have finally won the battle against the random scribblings on pieces of paper and it's all thanks to Microsoft OneNote.  Here's what I do; feel free to share your own triumphs or struggles below.

I have a OneNote notebook entitled "Writing Info."  Into this notebook I throw everything I think might ever possibly be useful in a book.  I have tabs across the top that are labeled:  Writing Tips, Novel Ideas, Short Story Ideas, Characters, Tidbits, Settings, Screenplay Ideas, and Contests. 

Some of them are pretty self-explanatory, but I think my favorite one is Writing Tips.  I love to read writing "how-to" books and articles, and often a sentence or an idea will catch my attention, so I just copy and paste it right into that section.  The section is divided into various pages: characters, plotting, outlining, etc. and I just stick it where it belongs.  Then, when I'm brainstorming ideas for a new book, I read through all the ideas, incorporating each into my book.  I sincerely believe doing this has greatly increased my writing abilities and I would highly recommend it to anyone.

In the tab labeled "Tidbits" I just put interesting things that I run across that aren't going to turn into a stand-alone book or story (probably).  Right now in there I have a link to the Wikipedia article on numbers stations (which, even though they've been used in Lost, are really interesting), a quote I once read in a tabloid article about Johnny Depp that I felt would be perfect for a character to say someday, a few ideas for titles that have no stories to go with them, and on and on.  Someday I feel sure I'll find a home for them.

The rest of the tabs house pretty much what you'd expect, and I suspect, if I were to combine them all, that I have over a hundred separate ideas and thoughts in there, not counting the several hundred writing tips I have accumulated. 

So tell me, how do you organize your ideas and thoughts for future books or stories?


  1. Like you said, writers aren't known for their organization skills. But, my memory is quite large, so I store things in there until I transfer them to this world I have. I know, it sounds stupid, like a child's imaginary world, but it's not. Rainbowland (immature name) is where I store everything until I use it in a book. My way is kind of unique, but I'm a unique person.

  2. I wish I could do that, but I would lose things and forget things! I love Rainbowland though, maybe I'll have to come up with a better title for my section of OneNote, something more fun like that!

    Happy writing!

  3. Yeah, for some reason Rainbowland memorizes and organizes things for me. I guess a more creative title might help though!