Thursday, August 23, 2012

4 Ways to Organize Your Book Information

If you're anything like me, you do a ton of work on your novel before you even start writing it.  You write out character profiles, make maps, write snippets, etc.  But it can be hard to keep all that stuff organized.  To help you out, here are four methods of organizing your info.

1. Binder.  Cost: <$5.  Supplies: Binder (the bigger the better, in most cases), dividers, looseleaf paper.

This is the preferred method for many people.  For each book you write, you have a binder full of information.  Separate it using the dividers into sections like "character forms" and "setting info" and "maps" or whatever works for you.  You can also print off blank character forms and stick them in the binder so you have them when you need them.  If you want, you can even use the looseleaf paper in the binder to actually write the novel.  This is handy because if you need to look something up (for example, what color was Bob's hair again?), you can simply flip back to the correct section of the binder.  They keep everything in one place, but if you have tons of prewriting material, they can get rather hefty.

2. Computer folders.  Cost: free, providing you already have a computer.  Supplies: Computer

This is mainly what I use.  I like to keep a folder called (literally) "Book Stuff".  Within this folder, I have another folder for each of my projects.  In this folder, I keep the actual book document itself, plus my filled-out character forms, my Xcel spreadsheet of scenes (more on this in another post), my outlines, etc.  It's basically the same idea as the binder, except everything is stored in files on the computer.  Just make sure it's all backed up, because you'd hate to lose everything if something happened to your computer.

3. Writing/Novel Planning Software, like Storybook.  Cost: Regular Storybook is free, $34.90 for the Pro version Supplies: Computer, internet

I'm going to just talk about Storybook, in this case, because it's what I have.  Storybook is a computer program that can be downloaded for free at the above link.  With it, you can keep a file for each book.  Within that, it's super easy to organize everything, and you can easily plot your novel and rearrange scenes and such.  I don't need to tell you everything it can do, since the website already does that.  There's also a paid version, but I'd recommend testing out the free version first, especially since the free version still has almost the same features.  There are other similar softwares; this just happens to be my favorite.  You'll be able to find plenty more just by Googling "writing software".

4. Notebooks.  Cost: <$5.  Supplies: Notebooks, post-its for page dividers

Again, this is basically the same idea as using a binder.  This method works best for people who like to handwrite everything.  You could use separate notebooks for everything, or you could just use one big notebook and use post-it notes to mark where each new section begins.

How do you organize your story information?  Do you have any other ideas?post signature

1 comment:

  1. I used to be really unorganised. Some stuff was in several different computer files, but because I also handwrite, the handwritten stuff ended up in random notebooks all over the house ^^;
    Now I've got Scrivener, so everything's in the same file on the computer, and then I got a notebook especially for each story. So much easier :)


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