DH had band practice tonight, and I had grand plans of getting some plotting done. I have this lovely, detailed summary written out, and I wanted to start working on an outline. So the evening actually started out with a search for some web-based tool I could use to organize all my notes. Some sort of web based application is very important for me given that I am working on multiple computers throughout the day. Emailing stuff back and forth gets old, particularly for some programs that require multiple steps to save the current version of stuff. There’s also room for lots of errors when you do that. Online stuff allows me to access my stuff anywhere.
Habitually I use Google Notebooks for this purpose, but I’ve got so many notebooks for so many different things that until they give me a way to organize them (hello, what is their objection to folders?), I’m sort of at my personal limit on those. Searching for alternatives was not easy, as most people apparently use Google Notebook to clip stuff. I do that too, but my primary use of it was as a tool for organize notes for my different WIPS with various sections on stuff. So first I took a look at Zotero, which would be great for very formalized research requiring citations and stuff, but which was not intuitive enough for me to be able to quickly figure my way around it. So that was out. Then I tried ZoHo Notebooks, as Zoho evidently is one of Google’s competitors. Nope, I didn’t like the way it set things up, almost like sticky notes. It probably is a good tool for people who really are literally noting stuff down. After a lot of other abortive searches for products I no longer remember, it occurred to me that maybe I could try an online wiki. I’ve read some discussions of them over on PBW’s blog at some point and kept meaning to try them.
I wound up going back to ZoHo to their wiki tool, which I went with largely because their claim is that it’s a wiki as easy to use as a word processor. That sounded about my speed. Be aware that when it asks you to create the wiki name, that you will not be creating multiple wikis under that name (like you can have unlimited numbers of wikis under one username over at WordPress, which is what I was expecting). Each wiki will have a unique name. This turned out to be exactly what I needed. It allows me to organize my notes based on sections: Summary, Outline, First Act, Character Profiles, Victimology, etc., with all sorts of subsections. So what I’ve done is to set up the sections just blank, then started pasting in notes that I have floating around that are relevant. I can easily put in pictures for my characters, with the same ease that I would insert a picture here on my blog. I wound up with faces for everyone but Wyatt. He’s eluding me. I fleshed out basic character profiles, put in the summary, and…not much else. I’ve got the structure set up…I just need to fill in the content.
I won’t wind up using this to plot out each and every scene, as I am still in love with the wonder of StorYBook for that purpose, but for keeping track of notes, outlines, and overall structure, this thing is awesome. On down the line, I’ll probably start to create them for the various worlds in my head, to keep track of characters and their relationships to each other, etc. It will be particularly good for long term projects like my cozy series, which I have no intention of writing for years, but which I’ll be continually thinking about off and on and adding things to as they occur to me.