This means that you need to base whatever elements of your novel … Writing an entire book can be a daunting and overwhelming prospect, and writers want to feel as prepared as possible before they launch themselves into the drafting process. For book 2 I had to find a Roman Catholic cemetery in Edinburgh, and I went so far as view it so that I knew the terrain was flat and other details that helped me describe it. The Importance of Note Taking. ‘How long should I research for?’ is a common question asked by many writers. For those who are shy about reaching out to strangers, remember that in today’s digital age, you don’t necessarily have to seek people out in person or by phone. TIP: Don’t assume you already know all there is to know about your setting – for example, if your novel is set in your own home town. 3. The bottom line is you have to choose a system that works for your learning style and your writing habits. Research is a given when writing non-fiction texts. Whether you’re reading advice from other writers, completing writing exercises, or taking a course to further your skills and knowledge, researching the craft of writing is an essential step for any novelist. Let us send you a copy so you can read it when it’s convenient for you. Writing software like Scrivener can help an author balance the demands of their new book. Move all the notes for your project into that notebook, and just search for the notes you need. The internet is, of course, your best available resource. We’ve covered a lot of ground here. It has thousands and thousands of sections, or ‘subreddits’, dedicated to every topic imaginable. Reddit is a great example. – Ryan Holiday. Performance & security by Cloudflare, Please complete the security check to access. How do you organize all your research? Reading other novels in your genre can help you see how other authors have tackled the process of building their own worlds. Another option is to use a spreadsheet program, like Microsoft Excel, to plan your book. I did a great deal of research for my first novel and am doing the same for the second book in the series. 4. Organizing Your Ideas. Don’t have time to read the whole guide right now? Everything from online encyclopaedias and databases to blogs and digital publications can be extremely helpful in your research process. A notebook full of handwritten notes, clippings and snippets of information. You’ll need to pay Italy a virtual visit by reading as much as you can about its capital city. Write a first draft of the whole novel, with the intention of making chapter break decisions in the revising and rewriting stages. I believe that research makes it a richer more complete reading experience for readers; putting them in the world I built and generally adding to the authenticity. I think that it makes the descriptions more vivid. When I get to the part where I need to write about this setting or subject, I still go back to the original source, but I know where to go immediately due to the preliminary research. Googling ‘Goodreads novels about artists’ brings up several lists, including ‘Art & Artists in Fiction‘, ‘Fiction Books Involving Art‘, and ‘Books With Main Characters Who Are Artists‘. This kind of research comes in two forms: style and genre. Obviously, your chosen subject matter will be the first thing you start investigating. Let’s take a look at the different kinds of reading you’ll need to do in preparation for writing your book. Just remember, it’s up to you to fact-check. A lot of people forget about the traditional ways and think only about the internet. That said -- librarians are… 3 ways to organize your novel’s notes. TIP: Similarly to the Goodreads lists we mentioned above, you can find movie recommendation lists online at websites like IMDb. The truth is that even the most experienced writer often needs to jump in head-first and just see where the writing takes them! This technique works for all types of projects. Method 1: Standardize your titles The simplest way to organize a novel-sized writing project (or any big project) is to create a new notebook dedicated to that project. Great ideas aren't always neat and tidy. How to Use MS OneNote to Organize Writing Research and Novel Outlines for Writers June 06, 2016 Let’s Get Organized  Writers take a gazillion notes. You have to understand that I’m someone who NEVER marks up books. So how exactly should you approach the research process? That's okay. 7. Whether you’re researching a place, a time period, a type of person or a particular culture, you’re sure to find some video sources that will help you understand your topic. If you choose this option, make sure to back up your files regularly to avoid losing data. Your IP: 134.213.27.96 as you mentioned, but I still look at photos and view videos, and read descriptions to enrich what I am writing about. I suggest creating four piles, for what I consider the four parts of the story (each about 25% of the book). There’ll always be time for further research later on; right now, if you’ve got enough research behind you to begin, then begin. No more research between multiple applications to organize to research files: keep all of your background material—images, PDF notes, for, web notes, sound files—right inside Scrivener. The completed mind map will be utilized to structure your book from one chapter to the next. No worries. Now, I have no sub-folders within any of these because while a novel set may need sub-folders within research, each novel or series may need a different set of sub-folders. These are also user-generated and can be found using a similar method: Google the keywords ‘IMDb’ and ‘movies about [topic]’. If you're overwhelmed by the amount of research you have, organize your research with coded notes. While the research process does have its merits, it can be challenging. I do write notes in a notebook or type them up and save them in a folder on my computer. I start writing and do research along the way. If you want to stick to the basics, here are some tips on how to organize your novel in Word. A digital Research folder on your hard drive, divided into sub-folders for each section of your research. It can also make it easier for you to focus on moving your story forward. There are coffee spills, crumpled pages, and peeling labels. Cofession: my notebooks aren't quite pristine. Dialogue: Sometimes I get a great idea for dialogue and want to quickly jot it down before I forget – having a notebook for this is a great place to start. Research on genre involves learning everything you can about the genre in which you’re writing. As well as novels with similar topics, it’s a good idea to read widely in your chosen genre. However, once you do start researching, it can be hard to know when to stop. You don’t want to become complacent with your existing familiarity. Outlining your novel can seem like a daunting task, especially if you have never written a novel before or are just starting to explore ideas for your story. Try searching some relevant keywords on YouTube or Netflix and see what comes up. We’ll talk more below about actually visiting real-world locations for research, but when that’s out of the question, using the Street View function of Google Maps is the next best thing. Easy-peasy. Thanks so much for your kind words! It’s free to become a member, and most libraries will have hundreds, if not thousands of books on every subject imaginable. Before you start researching, it’s imperative to get organised. You have to know it inside and out. Sticking with our example of an author writing a novel about an artist, let’s try Googling ‘IMDb movies about artists’. Conducting thorough research on a topic involves mining a number of different avenues and sources to find information. Every writer works differently, so think about your own methods of organisation and what might work best for you when it comes to sorting and storing your research. Here are a few organisation methods to consider: 1. We all know it’s good to read widely. Movies, documentaries and videos on YouTube can all be great sources of information and inspiration for writers. You can email yourself your highlights, then paste them into your research. University libraries often have large research collections and access to exclusive online databases. For example, you might have a Pinterest board full of images relevant to your setting, another for images of characters and clothing, and so on. Phew! But if, as you think about your story, the discussion of chapter breaks stimulates your imagination, note them on your scene cards so you can construct your outline with chapter breaks included. While reading will likely be your primary method of gathering information, other forms of media can be extremely helpful as well. • Organize Novel Research Notes. We at Jericho Writers have seen some horrible car-crash type manuscripts written by perfectly good writers. I’m not a very accomplished writer – I write articles for Associated Content, short stories for anthologies, research articles for various freelance agencies and my first novel will be published in June of this year. Some common guiding principles and search strategies include: Consult a range of information sources. For example, say your novel is about an artist. As a writer, you’re probably a voracious reader already (and if not, you should be!). Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer – only you will know when you have enough material to begin the writing process itself. Google Maps is also a great tool for conducting research about locations and settings. Whether it’s books, newspapers, online articles or any other source of written material, reading is going to be your primary method of attack when it comes to novel research. However, there’s really no such thing as being completely prepared to write a novel. TIP: Talking to people while researching may not only provide you with information, but also with inspiration when it comes to characters. Write down everything. You can browse Pinterest without becoming a member, but if you sign up for a free account, you can also create your own collages and collections using what are essentially digital ‘mood boards’. Writing a crime novel? Online resources are the easiest way to start, and will usually turn up the most up-to-date information. Whoever you speak to, you’re likely to gain truly valuable first-hand information and insight that you just can’t get through a book or the internet. Just as it’s helpful to talk to real people in your research, it’s also extremely valuable to get out and visit some real-world places! In the third column, enter the ideas and examples you want to include. We writers are generally a solitary bunch, but when it comes to researching a novel, sometimes it pays to step away from your desk and talk to some real people! Great article! Research: Depending on the story, I will put the research in one or several notes. A physical folder or binder, divided into clearly labelled sections such as Setting, Characters etc., in whic… We need to know them before the main action begins, or we don't care about them. There’s no point collecting hundreds of bits of information only to create a disorganised mess that you won’t be able to navigate later! The market you want to write for matters. Writing historical fiction set in medieval Europe? It’s very satisfying for me as well. The days of hanging out in a library for hours digging through dusty (and probably outdated) medical books have passed. At any rate, I want to organize my research more efficiently than I did last time. 197 responses to “Organize Your Novel With Excel” Audrey Albinger says: February 25, 2015 at 4:28 am. The process is similar; in the first column, enter the title for each blog post. After you’ve found a few movie options, it’s simply a matter of renting, purchasing, or downloading/streaming the movie (legally, of course) to provide some visual inspiration for your novel. Misc. You’ll need to research things like murder weapons, forensics, and past criminal cases. It’s usually better to have more research material than you’ll actually need, rather than not enough. Personally, I find it well worth the extra time it requires to transcribe everything I highlight in my novel research (e-readers make this super easy, since you can find all your highlights online and simply copy/paste them). By getting savvy in our research techniques and creating an epic plan of attack, we can say goodbye to the endless web-sur. I prefer settings that I have experienced to some degree (Rome, Bordeaux …) to have a feel for the vibe, etc. Mendeley is a free reference manager and academic social network that can help you organize your research, collaborate with others online, and organize the paper research. Google Images and Wikipedia are great places to start – simply type in some keywords and start browsing their mammoth collections. You’ll find that several options appear, including ‘Top 70 Movies About Painters/Artists‘, and ‘Movies with or about artists (painters, composers, etc)‘. 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