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19

When reading any book (fiction or nonfiction), I usually take a piece of A4 paper, fold it in half along its longest edge, and use it as a bookmark. I write directly on the bookmark, jotting down anything I find amusing or interesting. The bookmark always stays inside the book (which is necessary because I'm often in the middle of reading several books). ...


15

Other than Scrivener :) I find Excel (or another spreadsheet program) works surprisingly well. First column: Year Second column: Month Third column: Day (Insert more columns as needed.) Last column: event If you have multiple items on the same Day, repeat the Day data and use a 24-hour clock, so you would have: 1898|July|Holmes and Watson move into ...


11

The great piece of software that makes exactly this possible is called Scrivener. Unfortunately though, it is only available on Mac and now a beta-version for Windows PC. I still mention it in case anyone on any of those platforms interested in the question ends up here, as the title doesn't mention the Linux-specificity. I wrote more about Scrivener in my ...


8

I usually don't answer my own questions, but... wow. I just discovered Emacs org-mode, and I am stunned. The tools for catching bits as I think of them, then organizing them on the fly are both powerful and customizable. Like all of emacs, it is keyboard-driven (no extensive dragging and dropping to irritate my RSI when using the laptop), and looks great ...


7

There is only one question you need to ask when considering whether to include anything in a book: will the reader find some use for it? Is it entertaining and/or interesting? If so, put it in. If it's more a chance for you to show off how much research you did, but the reader will not care one whit, leave it out. Or at least leave it for later -- when the ...


6

yWriter is a free program that can be helpful in this regard. It runs on Linux. For commercial applications, though, I think Scrivener is probably the only "real" choice. There are others, but I have yet to find one that can beat Scrivener. It also runs on Linux, even natively; you can find help on Scrivener's forums on how to get it working. I know it ...


6

I normally keep a pencil with me whenever I am reading something, and will just lightly underline text that I like: phrases, words etc. Then, when I reach a natural conclusion in the book (end of the chapter/section), I'll make a note of it in my pocket-sized journal, which I keep with me at all times. If you can't underline, write it straight into your ...


4

For the Mac, try Aeon Timeline. It's being developed by a Scrivener user, so a key feature is being able to import your timeline into Scrivener. I used a very early version for my last book and it was pretty easy to use and had all the features I needed. Some nifty features include custom calendars (for those non-Earth settings) and a way to track which ...


4

Scrivener is available for Mac or Windows, but not all timeline software is cross-platform. Which platform are you using? If on the Mac, try StoryMill, which has a dedicated timeline function. On the PC, there's Timeline Maker, TimeLinear, Timeline Studio... lots of choices, really.


3

Your question didn't explicitly mention that you read paper books. For this reason, I feel it necessary to bring up digital book readers, such ad the Kindle, Kobo and iPad (with which I am writing this response). Digital annotations distinguish themselves from paper annotations in three important ways: Many of them allow you to annotate and to highlight ...


3

I know some of these posts are much older, but I thought I would respond. I've been on the hunt for some time searching for a software for desktop or cloud-based (cloud was my preference) and was coming up empty until I was completely looking for something else and stumbled on the diamond in the ruff. I wanted a simple yet effective timeline solution that ...


3

I like tags more than categories. Years ago I tried to organize ideas by category, but software often treats categories as mutually exclusive. Tagging schemes allow you to tag each snippet with whatever tags are appropriate. My main tags are the CLOSAT scheme: Character, Location, Object, Situation, Action, Theme. I learned this scheme from Michael ...


3

There was a point of time where i was able to use Microsoft Project to do my time line work. Sadly though I no longer have access to it, and the program itself is... excessively priced. Which is to bad, even in the simplest way I found it worked really well to keep my time lines in sync, it made working with a ton of characters a lot easier. I could also ...


2

I have an internal wiki. Best option for me, because the stories are set in a fantasy world, and you can't have a fantasy world without a weird calendar system (which none of the apps support), can you? No sorting, but hey.... But for purely Earth-based stories, I liked the scene arrangement system in Storybook. You can set the dates for specific scenes, ...


2

I can only speak for myself, but I do believe Open Office has a version of the outline mode that word has, so this should work well on Linux as well as Windows. It's been a while since I've used Open Office, so not 100% sure. I give every section a header with the proper formatting, usually something short and descriptive of the scene. In the outline mode I ...


2

The editor from shurtugal.com wrote a book recently; he based it on the notes he'd taken from the Inheritance Cycle books. To make a long story short (you can read the full account of how he wrote the book, which is titled "The Inheritance Almanac", by the way), he took many notes using sticky paper, attaching them to his "working copy" of the book. He also ...


2

I personally love it when an author takes the time to put an "author's note" into the book. it makes it feel so much more like they're writing it for you. if you are going to put a writer's note in the book, it should always be at the back. Why, you ask? Because if you put it in the front, you may ruin the ending for the reader. (Always beware of ...


1

To add on to Psicofrenia's excellent answer: Simply put, a writer writes. All the time. If you're not at your desk, you're still writing in your head. The notebook gives you somewhere to put your thoughts for later perusal. So if you're sitting at a subway station waiting for the train on the way to work, you may observe two really interesting people ...


1

Basically the idea is to take notes. Supposedly, a writer is always receiving insights of creativity and new ideas. If you have a notebook, you can write them down and not forget even if you are in the middle of street or something like that. The other function of the notebook is to collect interesting things. If you know how to draw and cross a interesting ...


1

Short thanks and dedications (about a page's worth, tops) can go at the front of the book, any lengthy "author's note" should, in my opinion, go towards the back, as "bonus material" 9as it were). If it's needing to be in front to make the book readable, there's more work to be done on the book. Sometimes, more lengthy introductions work, but the few ...


1

Another idea to throw into the ring: blog your notes. I get inspired by Derek Sivers' book notes online. I agree with Koen about transferring notes into a computer. And with Craig about writing a review. Combo that with a blog to help others and to better cement in your head what you've read. Joe Karbo said you should RSVP important things you read and ...


1

When I'm reading for content, I use PostIt notes. I have several different colors and sizes, and I make my notes on those, then press them into place under the passage, and I label part of it with a word or two, which sticks out like a tab when the book is closed. Books I've finished are rainbow colored and ruffled with PostIts. But I can always find what ...


1

I'm a Scrivener 2.0 user myself, and I recommend Aeon Timeline to any writer in need of making a solid timeline for your project. One of the biggest challenges with the novel I am working on now was the timeline and the order of events. I've been pounding the issue for months, but it wasn't before Aeon that I could get it right. And best of all: Its free ...


1

I can't find it right now, but I'm pretty sure that one or more of the various free mind mapping tools can support timelines. Many authors might like them for their mind mapping capabilities alone. Sort of like 2D outlining with graphics and the like. One example is FreeMind.



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