Posted in General

Converting Notes

Spring is starting the last preparations for its summer leave, which means this is one of the last few opportunities to do some spring cleaning. For me, that includes reorganizing my notes. More specifically, it’s been going through old story notes to see what I still need and what can go.

Unfortunately, that’s a lot of notes, some of which while still useful, need updates and new additions made. Being that these are all hard copies, there’s no easy way to find and replace things like old names. And, when I do need to consult on a note, I have to manually flip through the notes to find the one I need. That alone can take chunks of time away when I’m working on a project.

Which is why part of my spring-cleaning to do is converting all of my hardcopy notes into digital copies. Because I want to make sure they’re both searchable and easily updated, scanning the majority in isn’t a great option (there are some sketches and maps that can be converted easily).

Laid out to sort and count.
Most of the sketches will scan in with no problem.

The biggest hurdle I’m seeing however is that I have a lot of hardcopy notes owing to the fact I think best when handwriting something. For me, that’s an easy fix, since I have a graphics tablet with Windows Ink functionality—I can continue handwriting my notes and have it corrected into typed word. That makes it both readable for later, and lets me preserve a method that works best for me.

Because most of my notes are contained in setting-defined binders, I’m going through them alphabetically. In total, I have thirteen binders to convert. Once I’ve emptied them, I’m planning on donating any that are still in good condition and recycling the ones that have gotten torn up and damaged from use.

 This is going to be a long process, but I’m excited to get through it. I’m also curious. How do you keep your notes? What solutions do you have for organization? Let me know in the comments below!

Posted in writing

Story Bibles

If you’re a writer and you’re in the midst of editing, or even writing a series, you probably want a place to keep track of all the details of your story. It’s incredibly useful, especially if you want to write a series. Bonus points: if you do a lot of roleplaying and need or want to write your own campaign, having a story bible set up for your in-world conflicts, NPCs and lore makes it easier to keep your campaign more or less on track (sorry, but I can’t promise the same of your players).

A story bible is essentially a document or several documents that keeps the details of your story or stories together. This prevents things like character details changing unexpectedly halfway through the story. It also helps keep worldbuilding and relevant setting details in one place so you don’t have to go hunting for particular details.

There’s several ways you can keep a story bible. If you’d prefer a hardcopy, a binder or multi-subject notebook is a good option. This way you can section your bible off as necessary. Digital options include things like Microsoft OneNote or Evernote, or even something like World Anvil or to keep your bible sorted and on track. Depending on your preference and how you work best, you may find one option better than the other. I personally prefer to keep a digital copy of my notes in OneNote because of the search function.

Although your story bible should work for you, there’s a few sections you may find helpful to keep in it.

Character Notes. This is a good place to keep things like detailed descriptions, character sketches, backstories and family trees. I usually create a small section for each character so I can keep track of their character arc during edits.

Setting Notes. Depending on the genre you’re working in, this can easily become a massive portion of your story bible. Everything from notes on legal systems to lore can be placed in your setting notes. For speculative writers, this spreads to include bestiaries, cultural analysis, maps and even engineering schematics as necessary.

Story Notes. Editing and writing in general tends to create a multitude of different notes—outlines, and even thematic notations. Having a story-specific section makes it easier to keep all your editing tools in one place. A lot of my plotting notes end up here, but I also try to keep a list of any flash pieces relevant to the story, world or characters here.  This way if I need to reference something for a flashback or thematic reason, I can easily reference back to the original piece.

What are some of the things you keep in your story bibles? How do you prefer to keep them?

Posted in General, writing

Stats and Tracking Progress

One of the things I’ve been seeing a lot of posts on as we roll over the start of 2020 is wrap-up posts, and that got me thinking. Although I do my monthly recaps, I’ve never really paid much attention to how much I’m writing throughout the year. I’m usually pretty good about keeping track of where I’m at and what I’m doing in my planner, but that doesn’t give me the option to review the year as a whole.

Out of curiosity, I’ve set up a tracker in Excel. I already keep track of my daily word count in my planner but I also wanted to keep track of where those words are being written. I already have project list set up to track what state each project is in and keep an eye on how large my WIP list is so I ended up adding a new page to that. Full Tracker

I don’t need to track much, mostly just the monthly totals. I’ll have to remember to update and add in the daily counts as I go. I’ve also included three categories of project: Completed, Started and Editing. I’ve also included rules for myself about what counts for each category. Although it’s basic, I’m happy. I can’t wait to see what it looks like at the end of the year.

How do you track your writing stats?