Friday, 16 April 2010

Softly Softly

I have tea, coffee, instant chai latte (please help yourself -- I think it's disgusting) and de-caff tea and coffee and some rather wonderful thyme tea. Also chocolate. The local shop were selling four easter eggs for a pound. No wonder I'm overweight!

In one of the comments last week I touched on 'notecards' as a way of keeping track of characters (and confessed it was something I should do but didn't). What I do, though, is use a variety of noteboarding tools to help me keep track of the plot and subplots.

I regularly use Write It Now and have just started trying Text Block Writer and I've tried a few others in the past.

How about everyone else? Do you use paper? cards? software? or do you keep it all in your head?

26 comments:

Serendipity said...

I too managed to bag a few Easter egg bargains - shame they are so calorific!

As for plotting - I'm a notepad person, I'm not sure it works so well as I do occasionally get myself in a muddle! Thank you for posting the links - perhaps this is my answer! :-)

Leatherdykeuk said...

There's a brilliant one for the MAC but I don't recall the name, sadly, since I don't have a MAC,

Karen said...

Thyme tea sounds rather lovely, I'll have some of that!

At first I keep the plot in my head, but later on I'll scribble down ideas as they come on whatever's to hand and now and then I'll fire off a whole background story for a character on the computer, if I'm having trouble bringing them to life. It's as if I can't really 'see' the plot properly until I'm underway, so I leave my notemaking 'til later on. Tried index cards once and got into a terrible muddle!

Ellie said...

Do you mean Scrivener? I think it's mac only and it's what I use!

However, I also use random bits of paper, post-its on big bits of paper, several notebooks and all kinds of files here, there and everywhere on my laptop. I think I just haven't found a system that's *perfect*, so I mess about with lots. And try to do some actual writing sometimes too!

Denise said...

I'm pining for my eaten easter eggs, and haven't seen any left in the shops, so some chocolate sounds lovely!

I've tried a lot of new things recently. I've got a pair of whiteboards to keep important things alive either side of me, though I do then have to write things down if I want to keep them. I've also used index cards for chapter summaries, and put them in a photo album so I can flip through easily. I'm using this to see which chapters look dull, or if the balance isn't right. I flip the cards over and write a new summary on the back, or just add lines to the old one.

I think I prefer using notebooks and paper, rather than software, just for the variety. I get bored of always using my laptop, which is probably why I write so many notes!

Leatherdykeuk said...

Karen -- hot water with a sprig of fresh thyme in it -- deightful. I'm too messy to use scraps of paper -- my desk is covered with pens, paints and bits of stone as it is!

Ellie -- yes - 'Scrivener' I almost bought a Mac just for that.

Denise - I think you're way more organised than I. I don't use cards mainly because I'm too lazy to write *and* type the same thing.

Cathy said...

Ooh, chocolate - yes please!

I tried Writers' Cafe software for a while but found I couldn't be bothered to use it. Now I just use pen and paper. For the novel I had a Pukka Pad project book so I could keep notes on plot, character etc in different sections. Then there are occasional word documents and post it notes too...

Leatherdykeuk said...

That sounds like a plan, Cathy. I have one document I collect things into. At the moment I'm writing a 5K zombie tale and keep adding flashes to the pile. Evemntually I'll sort it all out and write the tale coherantly.

Graeme K Talboys said...

Hello everyone. Finished another book, but still have lots more to do. Taking a few days break (mostly to decorate the bathroom).

I use Asda Revision Note folders - little ring binders that take 4" x 6" file cards. These get scribbled on during first draft and then tidied up at the end ready for subsequent editing.

Leatherdykeuk said...

Good to know, Graeme :)

Rowan Coleman said...

Wow, just downloaded scrivener to my mac! Thank you for telling me about it. My usual method is either post it notes stucI long to be more organised, bt I'm not. I'm just natuarally chaotic!

Rowan Coleman said...

as you can tell by my illiterate comment, have baby on knee who wants my mac bad.

Leatherdykeuk said...

Rowan! I'm jealous! They son't do a PC version of it.

liz fenwick said...

a mind map at the start - notebook during and note cards in revision...made my own Easter eggs this year with very dark chocolate and cream and liqueur as normal ones have too much sugar.....jealous of all of you who can eat them..

lx

ps congrats on finishing another book Graeme - wtg

Leatherdykeuk said...

Thanks for that Liz. I could never get the hang of mindmaps!

Rowan Coleman said...

What the bloomin' heck is a mind map? Sounds a bit psychic to me....

Leatherdykeuk said...

Rowan: Mind maps

Annieye said...

Keep me away from the chocolate! A cup of tea would be nice.

I like mind maps, decision trees and, like you, good old post-it notes. I also construct timelines so I can keep track of characters' ages and events.

liz fenwick said...

I discovered mind maps doing work with ds1 who is dyslexic and I have found that they suit the chaotic flow of my mind quite well at the start of an idea...they also can look quite beautiful if you use different colours - which is a great excuse to buy more pens....

lx

Leatherdykeuk said...

It was mind maps that led me to the discovery that I have no imagination unless one of my characters is telling the story.

LilyS said...

I used an excel spreadsheet to keep it all in order as it got a bit confusing when writing the 1st draft. I had written scenes as they came into my head even if they were too early which involved jumped back and forth through pages of writing.

Great post btw I got some great links here.

Leatherdykeuk said...

Thanks, Lily!

Now why didn't I think of a sreadsheet! Doh!

Captain Black said...

I use a mixture of physical and electronic media for my work. I often start the initial proceedings with traditional paper and pencil. There's something about being away from the computer screen that seems to aid my creativity. Soon after, though, I start committing things to documents and spreadsheets on the 'puter.

I use a mixture * of software, since I've found no one suite that does everything I need. I've recently been trying Writer's Café and I have to say I'm not too impressed. I like the ideas behind this software, such as the time lines and cork board. The trouble is they're not as practical as they first seem, at least not in this implementation. Using the character sheets is like doing keyhole surgery whilst blindfolded. You can enter lots of information but you just can't see enough of it. In general, visualisation is weak for this tool, though the concepts are good.

I've also heard good things about Scrivener, though I've never tried it myself. A while back, I tried Y-Writer but found it a bit too simplistic for my needs.

If there was a big enough market, I'd write some software myself - a project I actually looked into, though it wasn't commercially viable for me in the end.

Well done on completing another book, Graeme.

* For the record, I currently use OpenOffice, Visio and FreeMind.

Leatherdykeuk said...

Thanks for weighing in. It's nice to see someone works with pencil and paper -- I sometimes plot a story with storycards still.

Talli Roland said...

I really like Writers' Café software. They have interactive post-its!

Leatherdykeuk said...

Thanks Talli -- I'll have a look.