Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Notes and More Notes

That's what I find littered throughout my computer. Files named "notes" or "notes on new story" or "new story" or "notes on chapter3".

Unfortunately instead of this being helpful when putting my ideas together, I find that sometimes I had no idea what I was thinking about.

For instance. Today I opened a file named "ideas" (sounds promising, doesn't it?) This is what I found.

There’s a secret in the house.

What is it?

An adventure


Right. Um. I think that idea needs a little more fleshing out. Like enough that I can answer the question: what was I thinking about?

And then there was this one under the name "Outline for new story" (everything is called 'new story' until I either have a main character name or a title - which means I have a lot of 'new stories').

This is what I found there:

Chapter 1

Incident at school - afterward Ally meets Stella

What kind of incident at school? Study hall and the kids are all goofing around and talking about the latest whatever – or looking up funny videos on youtube and Ally has her head in a book

To which I say. 1) this isn't an outline, not even by generous standards and 2) who are Ally and Stella and what's so important about the incident at school?

When I come up with a new idea for a story I try to put all the relevant pieces together in one place: the concept, the characters things like that. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes (as you can see above) not so much.

I have one started story I found - about a page and half and I have absolutely no idea where the story was going.

So either I ought to finish more of my stories or I ought to get more organized. How do you keep your ideas organized. Are they all in files labeled "notes" and "new story idea" like mine, or does your method actually make sense?


  1. PJ, at least I can laugh at myself. :)

  2. LOL!!! I SO do that exact same thing. And I'm worse than you...I've actually got an electronic "notebook" on my iPod Touch that has my notes for my next chapters of the book I am currently working on. I stopped writing on Friday, took notes over the weekend, and opened up the notes again on Tuesday...and even though less than a week's gone by, I have NO CLUE what I meant by some of those notes!!!

  3. Beth, I found some other files that might shed some light on these cryptic ones. If I'd kept it all together I'd be in better shape.
    As far as your notes - if you don't remember what you meant by some of them, then they are not destined to be a part of your story.

  4. Nice. I have these kinds of files as well, along with notes on paper napkins, ripped out of coil note books, on bill envelopes, etc. Sometimes they are surprisingly good - and others...meh.

    But I know if I didn't jot them down, all that stuff would be rattling around in my head! ;)

  5. Judith, at this point most of my story notes are just on the computer, which is good - because notes of all other important and not so important varieties are strewn on various pieces of paper throughout the house.