A guide to making notes.

Both writers and authors, brand new and veterans alike, have one thing in common: they all scribble down their notes. Some have shelves filled with notebooks (of which at least half is never or hardly ever used), others pin their walls the way Sherlock would to come to his final deduction.

I am one of the latter. I have a wall in my writing office where I pin cards and use colored threads to connect the individual characters and storylines. Each name-tag is accompanied by a small description of the scene I have in mind, which is then interlinked to characters or other scenes that are affected by it. This way of working has a lot of perks. For example: if done correctly, you reduce the chance of plotholes drastically. Every choice a character makes, every hidden storyline that is somehow connected, is being tracked until the very end of the story. It makes the invisble visible, while you can continue to work on those details and dialogs. The wall remembers for you. But there are also downsides. I mean, let's be honest, you need a wall to do this. Where most people would gladly decorate their walls with posters, paintings or pictures, a writer that uses a note-wall will risk a scrutinizing gaze of the accidental guest who enters the office (because we all know a tv-show stalker or serial killer who decorates his walls in the very same way). Also, working with a notewall needs to be done correctly in order to work. You need to be very strict in what you should and shouldn't pin, and you need to stay very consistent in doing it. Always use the same color thread for the same thing, never forget to add a scene or concept you have in mind, etc. But these pro's and con's actually make the choice between notebooks and note-walls quite easy, because obviously, if you are the type of writer that scribbles at random, and only structurizes things in the actual manuscript... this isn't for you. Perhaps the notebook is more your thing.

But for those writers and authors how have a more creative hand, drawings might be your thing! I have tried this in the past: to turn every chapter into a drawing -a detailed pencil sketch that visualizes the entire scene into one single shot. I loved it, I loved making them, but I also immediately found that it takes a lot of time to do this (of course this also depends on your drawing skills). But the thing is, having each chapter drawn out, makes it so much easier to dive into your scene and watch the whole thing happen in front of you. It's like stepping through a portal and simply take on the role of a reporter, rather than the writer who has to make things up. For me it was helpful, because (like I explained in the first blog: Where to Start?) my brain works best with images. But because it gobbled up so much time, I chose to go with the note wall, which is the perfect balance between the notebook and drawing out each scene. My point is; there are so many ways to keep track of your thoughts and concepts. There is no right way to do it... there is only the way that works best for you. I just hope that perhaps, when you are stuck, and run out of ideas on how to keep track of things, this blog can be of help to you.

Happy writing!