Research Part 3-- Get Organized

Time to share.
In honour of continuing with the research theme... we've gathered facts HERE. We've proven them HERE. Now it's time to organize what we have.
I love organizing EVERYTHING. Love it! And here are the two simple steps I'd like to share: 
Cut photos from magazines if
this gives you a visual.
Step one:
Know why you need them
Ask yourself, why am gathering these facts? What point do they serve? When will I need them? **these are important questions, that allow you to place your facts into different groups that will be easy to access.**
As an example, for the Notebook Chronicles, I need 2 types of groups.
     1. I need to keep the real life stories straight and how they interact with my fictional ones, before I write.
      2. I need to access facts while I write.

Step two:
Use technology
I used to use notebooks and files (with cut-outs stapled, taped, papercliped-- got a visual?). I had one for each topic. Yup. Looking for that one fact that eluded me was as easy as digging through seventy files and their run offs. Painful, and often resulted in redoing the work. We've come a long way, is all I gotta say.

Microsoft Office OneNote is my new companion. 
It comes with an easy to follow instruction screen, so I won't get into how to use it, but I will answer questions if you email them to me or post them in the comments.

It allows me to paste photos and links beside little creative blurbs, and find things I filed with the SEARCH icon. It's a virtual notebook. I insert and move things on a whim. I colour code things. I can even draw in it! (Which was fun when I designed my own tattoos for my heroes.)
Ah technology. 
  • Link pages, blogs, and websites. 
  • List books, where to find them, and the pages that correspond with that theme.
  • Paste entire interviews with specialists (recorded or written!!) and include their business cards.
  • Draw in details to reflect scene changes, right on the photos. 
  • Heck, I'm even pasting in the scenes I used in the MS to remind myself that I already used that information and how I used it. 
Best invention ever. EVER.
And... if I wanted to make this baby
umm... exactly how would that work?
Seriously... anyone know?
It saves time, it keeps me accurate, and everything is at my fingertips. One place, several notebooks with neat colourful tabs and labels. No more files, folders, binders, loose pages, or scribbled notes on napkins. And if something falls in two categories? No big deal- link the pages!!!
Paradise. I am organized. Yes!

1. Keep track of fact vs. fiction before you begin.
2. Keep things easy to access by using technology that works for you while you work.
3. Smile. Getting organized just got easy.

Any other tips on getting organized? I'd love for you to share. 


Samantha Sotto-Yambao said...

"Keep track of fact vs. fiction before you begin."

I couldn't agree more. I imagine that things could get pretty tangled if this isn't sorted out at the start.

Anonymous said...

Great tips. I'm one of those people who gets lost in the research and chases down facts I get fascinated by even if I'm not sure I'll need them.

You love organizing?

Tanya Reimer said...

Yeah Samantha, you're so right. When writing-- historically speaking, it's important to know the real people I plan to incorporated into my fiction before I begin! I could get myself into a bit of a mess.

Haha! Brooke, I've held onto facts too just because I liked them. I recently turned one into flash fiction. It has no home, I just see the scene so clearly!!

Oh and I do love organizing. I once dreamed about doing it as a carreer.

Richard said...

Organization and being able to find things quickly and easily is crucial when handling large amounts of information. This notebook works for you, and that's all that matters.

"It's a virtual notebook. I insert and move things on a whim. I colour code things. I can even draw in it! (Which was fun when I designed my own tattoos for my heroes.)" It bears a resemblance to the mind mapping technique I discussed in my blog.

Tanya Reimer said...

Ya, it does, doesn't it Richard? Some pages even look just like that! hehe.

Elizabeth Varadan aka Mrs. Seraphina said...

For the historical novel I'm writing, I clip out things or print them off and store them in separate binders, since I like to have things tangible. But then I also have folders and subfolders in my bookmarks under the main folder of my WIP. The combination works for me, but your Microsoft One Notebook 2010 sounds fabulous.

Anonymous said...

I use a program for Windows called yWriter (it's a free download). It is very much like you described for your program above, except I don't think I can draw on it. But I can add pictures of settings and characters and items of importance. Everything is easy to find. I can move scenes around easily.

Thanks for the research organization tips! I can use all the help I can get.


Tanya Reimer said...

I am so surprised that more people haven't heard about WordOne Notebooks! I thought I was the last one to discover this gem.

Elizabeth, I love having all my facts at hand too, and binders are swell. Problem is, I've dug so deep, a binder just don't cut it anymore! I should just move into 1917 and be done with it. hehe.

yWriter does sound interesting, and I know others who have great success with it. Thanks Vicki, that's a great tip! I will have to check out.