by A Sutherland

Question: I’ve been trying to find an answer to this question for the last few years, and I may be missing something obvious, but at this point I’m stumped. Perhaps it’s not a common problem, but I find no matter what I do, I cannot keep track of all the small details going into my story. Many of them simply disappear once written, only to reappear long after the fact when they're no longer relevant. The plot stretches over several books and has a very complex back story that leaks into world creation, and so far I have not found a good organizational system that can help me stay ahead of the story and on top of my notes.

If anyone has anything that could help, I’m all ears.

Suggestion: Most writers traditionally have simply kept files of notes on different aspects of the story world - updating them as revisions to the story require.

Although I don't use it myself, I have heard the software program Movie Magic Screenwriter (which allows you to write novels as well as screenplays) has a Notes feature that allows you to keep notes on a variety of topics linked to specific mentions in your document. But I'm not sure how well this works for cross-referencing or linking one note to various occurrences of, for instance, a backstory.

Nontheless, you can find information on it at this link...

Of course, the downside is that this would mean transcribing all the notes you have been keeping into a new software program.

It strikes me that there must be other software options that allow cross-referencing of data, but my own knowledge is not great on this subject. Perhaps something along the lines of concordance or encyclopedia creator would be helpful?

Sorry I'm not more help, but perhaps some readers of this site know of better options and would be willing to add a comment?

Comments for Organization

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Jan 29, 2012
Organizing a complex writing project
by: Anonymous

Give Scrivener a try.
Don't write anything without it.
Simply the best writing tool there is, bar none.
Written by a writer for writers.

Jan 30, 2012
Absolutely right, thanks
by: Glen

Thanks Anonymous for the tip on Scrivner. I checked it out and it seems to do exactly the job needed. I'm very impressed with how it allows one to organize research notes and view notes while editing your document. Might even do a review of it in the near future.

Jan 30, 2012
by: A Sutherland

That is brilliant thanks. Thankyou both for the feedback. I will get right on that.

Jan 30, 2012
by: A Sutherland

That is brilliant thanks. Thankyou both for the feedback. I will get right on that.

Jan 31, 2012
I use File Folders on my computer
by: Char

I created a File Folder on my computer desktop and have plenty of sub folders. For example the main folder is given the same title as my WIP, then I have sub folders such as character notes, deleted scenes, revision notes, scene ideas etc. Then I ALWAYS have a blank word document open ready and waiting for me to quickly type ideas, dialogue, descriptions, and I save these hundreds of small documents into the appropriate folder with an appropriate filename like Character Name_Motivation notes.doc or Scene Idea_DeathlyHallows_near the end_Snapes memories of Lily.doc

(sorry, its easier to use Harry Potter as an example)

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