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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

taking notes

So, I've been journaling in various notebooks and blank books since I met the characters in my novel Seven Days, in August of 2006.  I love to find pretty journals on sale and have quite a collection.  While I started on index cards, the journals work better for me.  I label my entry as to which book the scene would go in or which character it involves with a circled number at the top.  I record information from magazine articles, quotes, interesting blog or Facebook posts or overheard scraps of conversation.  I've recorded passages of novels or dialog I loved and the titles of interesting songs or books I "need" to look for.

When I was finishing Seven Days, I went through the journals and flagged the bits I needed to include.  At first, I color coded, with different markers for each of the four books.  As there were almost thirty journals to go through, it was getting stupid, so I focused on entries I wanted to use for the first book.  I rediscovered many wonderful things I'd forgotten about Will and Elizabeth and their flock of secondary characters.  I also discovered some repetitious dreck!  As I inserted some things and cut others, I was careful to keep a file of the good stuff I'd cut, Just In Case it could be used later on in another area/book.

But, I have almost a whole shelf of the cherry wood bookcase from Mom and Dad's house filled with these notebooks and journals.  I keep one in my purse, one by where I sit in the living room and one in the upstairs bathroom to capture those late night and early morning thoughts.  I save my drafts and notes that I've gotten on the computer on flash (thumb) drives and keep at least one current one locked in a fire safe.  Paranoia is my middle name.  I still have a lot of work to do, but it's a system that works for me.  What works for you?

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