Why You Should Keep a Project Notebook

I frequently use project books to keep notes while I'm editing, but now that I'm writing a series, my project notebook is an essential lifeline to keep track of everything. My project book for the Ghost!Series contains research, floor plans for various buildings (haunted houses, haunted asylums, more haunted houses), character charts and notes for future books. There are also timelines for each book and even a family tree so I could figure out how a certain haunted mansion passed down the family line. I keep a list of research materials I want to check out, too. I also have all my editing notes. The one thing I don't keep in my project notebook? Extra scenes. I have another notebook for that... actually, two now.

A family of notebooks

The other really important thing I keep in the front of my project book are the rules of the fictional world. I had to write them all down and then make sure the second book stuck to them. Even if at no point do my characters sit down and tell each other the "rules" that govern how ghosts behave in these books, I need to know, and keeping them on the very front page of my project book means I'm not likely to forget them.


I know I could keep all these extra details on a computer, but I guess I just like my old school pen and paper. Plus I can take my notebook to the day job. It's very handy.

Do you use project notebooks?

Comments

  1. I keep all my worldbuilding stuff in a world document (I've started doing little 'glossary' type sections at the end of my books where I keep info on magic rules, different creatures, military ranks, whatever that particular story needs). But I wish I had a physical notebook just so I could have something as cool as 'GHOST RULES'. :D

    (Knowing me, I'd spill tea on the whole thing, though!)

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    1. Glossaries sound like a smart idea.

      The notebook has tea stains galore. And smudges of chocolate and all sorts. Just proves its mine ;)

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  2. I do this, but in a Scrivener file! I used to make notes by hand but I ran out of notebooks, and it's easier to cut and paste and move things around on a computer screen. But I do keep a notebook with me so I can jot down ideas when I don't have access to the file. I don't think I could keep track of all the ideas in my longer series without having it all in one place!

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    1. I keep thinking about Scrivener, but I love my Word/Notebook combo. I'm entirely too old school :P One day I will embrace all this modern technology malarkey in full.

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  3. I actually have a blog post on this topic scheduled for this week! Strange how things like that happen. I love project notebooks, I just like knowing that everything I need for a story is in one specific place. Thanks for sharing, gives me some ideas for what I can store in mine :)

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    1. Strange indeed! I came up with the idea after last week's editing post. My project notebook is so handy, I wanted to share it. Can't wait to see yours!

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