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A discussion to stoke your writing fire.
Posted: 10/7/2008 4:12 AM PDT
What you shoud do is keep downloading a free trial (one free trial lasts six months) for Microsoft Office Onenote 2007. It is very easy to store and keep files and it's all in one programme. You can get to a whole folder in just one click and you can create multiple notebooks and files and they would all still be so easy to keep track of. Because I did just what you are doing now before I downloaded onenote and I also got around to writing my book faster too! ;)
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Posted: 9/23/2008 12:00 AM PDT
I found this to be a great additional tip
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Posted: 9/22/2008 11:59 PM PDT
Thanx for the tips - I think I'll find them very useful
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Posted: 9/22/2008 1:51 PM PDT
There is a ton of free software out there that will take the place of all your means of notes, and still allow you to write with ease. I can't think of one for Windows at the moment, but for Mac users, try Scribner. -J.T. Manis
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Posted: 9/20/2008 3:38 AM PDT
Before I actually wrote down this timeline I was sure in my head that it all worked out fine. But then once I put pen to paper and designed a chronological outline I realised that I had completely messed it all up (characters of the same age being born five years apart, characters knowing things before they technically happened etc)
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Posted: 9/19/2008 7:42 AM PDT
Your system sounds like it works great for you! I think it's different for every writer, and every project. Some books require this kind of meticulous tracking -- others, with more simple plots of timelines, may not. One type of book isn't necessarily better than the other -- though I think all books should go through SOME sort of planning and organization at some point. My preference is to write a "white-hot first draft" as fast as ever I can. Then I go through all the material, and do something like what you do -- work out a timeline or outline, make different files for different bits and pieces, etc. Personally, I would probably get all tangled up and blocked if I tried to organize in this detail on my first draft, but I know it works for many writers.
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Posted: 9/17/2008 3:56 PM PDT
I once took a class with Richard Ford, who won the Pulitzer Prize, and he had a HUGE binder that he showed us full of notes and research. It sounds like you have the same sort of file, just online. He said that keeping track of everything really helps him ensure that his novels are very rich-- we were all so impressed we all ran out and bought huge binders.
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Posted: 9/17/2008 3:27 AM PDT
You are not at all sad. This this the most practical way to work. Anyone who is going to write seriously must have some way of keeping track of things. I am not as organsied as you but I do keep a file with bits in (called Story Bits!) and I have loads of notebooks with things jotted down - things such as how old was one character when another was born, what day of the week or month a certain event happened on. Some suthors keep note cards but that does not work for me. A writer should do whatever works for them. You may make fun of yourself but you're doing a good thing.
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Posted: 9/17/2008 2:08 AM PDT
It sounds incredibly sad but I have quite a few other files on my computer that I keep at the sides when writing. I have word documents containing lines and quotations I'd like to put in as well as one for the general plotline. I also have two spreadsheets (yes, goddamn spreadsheets) that keep track of the chronological side of the story, one for the days and one for years that appear in flashbacks. Then there's a stack of paper with all manner of side notes scribbled on. I know how this sounds like some kind of hellish electronic garble but I find that it helps unbelievably well. Before I organised my (admittedly quite convoluted) story like this I lost track of everything so quickly that it became the very epitome of 'Plot Hole'. Also, if I leave the writing of this story for a while and come back, it's easy to pick up from where I left off Please somebody tell me I'm not the only person who does this...
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