Paying the Viking's Price

Friday, October 11, 2013

OneNote and the author

One of the things I'm attempting to do while waiting for my editor's thoughts ( they are now down on apper apaprently but she wants to add some other colleagues' insights) is to come to grips with OneNote.

Jami Davenport put something on the PAN loop about a cheat sheet for authors which explains the basic thinking.
OneNote comes with Microsoft Office. If you don't have it, you can download a version.
OneNote is an easy way to share various info  -- think authors creating a continuity and needing to have a *bible* of notes which is shared between several people and can be updated by them.
It is also easy to transfer research between notebooks.
In theory it means capturing images/urls from the internet is easy. And I should not have to rely on my scraps of paper.
There are apparently apps for various tablets and smart phone.
What it is not -- a replacement for Word or for getting the words down on paper.

It is a great way to capture thoughts and images and have them there at your fingertips. This is particularly useful when you come to revise a project that has been sitting for several months and you discover you have to write a new scene and have forgotten various bits and what you had is now lost somewhere. You then lose an hour searching, can't find the scrap of paper but do unearth several interesting bits of info. You then proceed on a wing and prayer, knowing that the one last read through should bring any discrpencies only to have an eagle eyed copy editor mention that you have given two different very minor characters the same name etc. There are reasons why I keep of list of all named characters (if I can find it!)

OneNote does have a searchable feature whic will search through all your notebooks. There is even a place to put unfiled notes.

Having played around with it for a bit, it does make sense. However, I still like to do my plotting with pad and pen. Totally off screen
It is best to have a notebook for each project. You can have various sections such as character, plot, settings, research info etc.
Under character, you can have different pages. There is a tab on the right side which lists pages and subpages. So you could have a list of characters, a seperate page for each main character and within the main characters page, have subpages for backstory etc.

2 comments:

Helena said...

Have you ever looked at Scrivener? I think it looks like an amazing tool for a writer. I'm planning to use it when I have to write a dissertation. According to its description, you can keep your research and notes using it, and then have the piece of research or the notes on the screen at the same time as you are typing new text for your book.

The aspect which appeals to me is the ease of moving parts of the manuscript around. No matter how carefully I plan (and it seems that the software can be used for planning too), it seems I always to want to reorder text for the finished version.

Jami Davenport said...

Thanks for mentioning me in your article. BTW, we did look a Scrivener. First of all, OneNote comes with office, is in the cloud, and has an iPad and iPhone app. But also it's much easier to learn. Scrivener has a pretty high learning curve, it's also somewhat restrictive in how you need to use it, which is great if its processes jive with yours. So I think they're both good products, it depends on what you want out of it.