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17

I keep a good old fashion Moleskin notebook with me, one that is hard back so it can survive in my pocket (as well as a pen). It's useful not only for writes notes but for everything else I need to jot down while away from the computer. It also comes with a band to hold it closed, which is useful so I can keep cards in it and the like. There's also ...


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

Buy a bunch of 3x5 cards and write plot elements on them, then organize them into a line or a tree or some other visual representation that makes sense to you. Play around with orders: put everything chronologically, then put it how you intend to tell it. When doing this, you can also decide what not to tell by removing cards and seeing if the action still ...


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 ...


8

The only study on bullet points I could find was done by Chris Atherton looking at the usage of bullet points in Power Point slides, and this concluded that they did not work when it came to the audience remembering the information presented. However, in written form, this study would likely not apply since it's a completely different setting. Something ...


8

The method I'm familiar with is a writing bible - a document where you're constantly recording any new information you add to the world; any new detail you want to be committed to throughout the book. At its simplest, this is literally jotting down any new concrete detail you add. If your write `"Jurgen's eldest brother Bob was the snootiest accountant he'd ...


8

There are two concepts in git that can help: branches and tags. Tags. Think of a tag as a name for a specific revision. Any time you want to remember a version, create a tag for it. For example, when you finish a draft, you can tag it like this: git tag first_draft When to use tags. Tags are good for marking any version that you might want to remember ...


8

I use paper and a pencil. Paper is extremely flexible. You can: cut out sections and re-arrange them in any way you want (even stack them) have an infinite canvas (as large as your living-room floor) see everything you wrote at the same time and therefore better grasp and play with it in your mind than when only a small section of your work is visible on ...


7

A set piece is a big moment in a story, usually quiet a bit of the story builds up to it and it has a large effect on the plot. You'll see it a lot in video games and movies. For example, the lobby sequence in The Matrix is a well know set piece. Set pieces are usually large and memorable and often the plot pivots around them. You can write a story by ...


7

I use OneNote and I think it's the best computer program ever happened. You can track your ideas and thoughts in the most easier way I've seen. As much as I love paper, I should really own oneself with the paper beaten over the person with this beautiful little soft gem. As a mathematician I organized my notebooks strongly, and I will to publish it, if I ...


7

This is about personal organisation - actually nothing to do with writing per se, but it does, I understand, affect writing significantly. I would suggest that you identify the urgency of your various projects, or - if you have no deadlines - the closeness to completion. Then work on the most urgent or nearest complete. Work on it until you have completed ...


7

I mix both techniques of habit, I can write in my lunch hour and get a good forty minutes in but then if I have ten minutes before work in the morning it's incredible how those sprints stack up. It's the same theory as those bank accounts that round up spends by diverting the difference into a savings account. The advantage of it is that you get a good ...


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

Applications: I cannot say enough good things about Scrivener, from Literature & Latte (for Mac). It's not a word-processing program, it's a writing program. You can organize notes, drag "notecards" and folders around, block out the rest of your screen, paste in photos and movie clips, and use a virtual corkboard to rearrange thoughts. It was THE main ...


6

My own habit is to use either Dropbox or Google docs to store what I refer to as "lore files." Each file contains all current details for a particular category: cities, characters, items, species. When making a minor change, the files are changed directly. If it is a major change or addition, it is added to a discussion file, to be added later. Before ...


6

It all depends on what you want on those cards. Since I tend to worry about the details of a scenario when I'm writing it specifically, I tend to be pretty rough when I plan like this, but I recommend four basic elements be on all of your notecards: What characters are there. Why they're there. What happens to them. How this affects the characters and the ...


6

The priority of a writer is to get stuff written and in a shape where it can be read by others. (Assumedly, submitted, sold, to agents/editors, etc.) Your goal is to get stuff written. (Whether quality or timeliness is your primary goal is something you'll have to work out for yourself.) The advice below is fairly production-driven and deadline-oriented. ...


5

Well, here are my own suggestions - I hope they're helpful :) Keep a timeline for every character (or small group). Keep track not only of what's going on onstage, but also what's hidden from the reader - if the hero thinks his wife is dead, but actually she's studying with Tibetan monks and engineering a playful assassination attempt for every anniversary ...


5

I've heard of a number of uses for colors: Highlight each character's dialogue in a different color. This allows you to quickly read through each character's dialogue to see whether the character's voice is consistent (or perhaps whether it changes the way you want it to). It also allows you to read quickly through all of the dialogue in the story, to see ...


5

The first step I would suggest is to develop a timeline and then place your characters on that timeline. It would be better if each of you is writing from the perspective of a different character, because then you wouldn't have to worry so much about what the other person is writing. It would also help to periodically exchange content so that you can see ...


5

Another suggestion would be to use some sort of distributed source control system to keep track of the changes that you each make. Dropbox Dropbox has built in source control, so you can roll back to previous changes, and it is fairly simple to use. Their Terms of Service kind of trouble me, but I may have donned my tinfoil hat in recent years. Benefits ...


4

I have used a Wiki to help me organize my thoughts for a novel I was writing in the past. It is actually in quite a helpful format, because you can so easily link from one concept to another. Having pages for separate characters, groups, locales, etc. is extremely helpful. When writing chapter outlines on the wiki, you can easily link to all settings and ...


4

Some software for making a story bible: Tiddlywiki - a free, personal wiki - mentioned above. It's a single html file, so it's very lightweight. I used this for a while and it worked well. It's very easy to tag things and link items together. Evernote - also good for tagging, not so good for linking. Scrivener - mentioned above, included here because it's ...


4

Your first sentence is great, it grabs the reader. Sadly, it has almost nothing to do with the rest of the essay, which therefore becomes kind of a let-down. In handling such an abstract concept, you need to concretize it. Think of how it would be done in a magazine: "Bob Smith, a freshman at a well-known Ivy League school, had troubles studying on his ...


4

Estimates of how long work like this will take are always guesswork. One can make some excellent guesses when one is experienced, but even then, it's advisable for one to take several factors into account: The difficulty of the material. Have you seen any of the text you'll be translating? If you have, then you already have a rough guide as to how long ...


4

I haven't checked what the classic style guides say on this, but my personal practice is that in such cases, I capitalize what comes after the colon. If each "point" is long enough to be its own paragraph, then I make the first one its own paragraph also. Like: A hypothetical solution might be set up like this: First, we can use a table to record ...


3

I always have a notebook with me. When the notebook is full, I go through it page by page, digitizing the ideas that are "keepers" (and transferring those I want to mull some more into my new notebook). Of course, if I happen to be at the computer, I will often just throw things right into my notes file -- I have a branch set aside just for "unsorted" ...


3

I've been using Springpad as an alternative to Evernote lately. I also use a simple to do list program on my Mac called Things that lets me organize the todos into projects. Works really well for keeping lists of edits that need to be made on any given writing project, especially long ones.


3

As FoxCutter has said elsewhere, for many of us Moleskine is hard to beat. You can pick a size that works for you to carry anywhere, ranging from just smaller than an iPad to one that fits in a pocket and clutch. The fact that it is a notebook lets you keep everything in one place. The fact that you can get it in a "to-go" size means you can have it with ...


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 ...



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