Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Get Pumped! Time for Notes!

Have you ever had one of those sleep overs with your bestie where you stay up all night, getting super excited about some kind of idea, and working it out together? That's what notes are to me; working hand in hand with my story as we piece it together. More often than not, we end up jumping up and down, yelling stuff like...

Yes, this really is a screen cap from my notes.

'Might seem like a "Duh, H." kind of topic here, but I've got to stress how damn important our notes are, and the system we use to take them. Like everything else in writing, there are different techniques to effective note taking. As for me, well...

I'm a very messy person (if you've watched my videos, you know this) and the way my brain ticks is no different. I've accepted that. and I've learned how to use it.

When beginning a new idea, the most important thing for me is to jot it down as soon as it hits. For this reason, I always carry a small notebook with me wherever I go. If I'm at home, I go straight into the series of tubes to strike up my story with a brand new folder, which I duly dub (Insert Working Title Here) From here, I do folder inception, creating another folder within the folder, and name it "(Working Title) 1st Draft", where I slap in a document called "(Working title) 1st Draft—Notes 1". This is about as organized as it gets for me until the draft is done. I scribble in this document as I go along the story to help move it forward. By that I mean, collect ideas, free write when I'm stuck, copy+paste research and inspiration...yell at it.

Use your imagination for that blacked out part.

The reason for this is I believe notes should not be treated any different than the first draft. They should be messy, organic, personal. This is the only way my brain and I can shake hands and get anything done.

And hey, whad'ya know! Just now, right now, I did another technique for my note taking. It's something I mentioned in a previous lesson of the day, but I had this big, long part exactly in the spot you're reading here, which I cut and pasted into my notes. Maybe I'll use it in a bit (Incoming Call From Future H.: I don't) maybe not, but it's there if for no other reason than to look back on and laugh. 

This is why I always keep my notes document open next to my draft. You never know when you'll need to copy+paste, but also, you'll never know when inspiration hits. Maybe something later in the chapter sparks right in the middle of it. You have to write that down in that second, or it could very well fly away before you get to it.

When I say notes should be messy, I mean it. Anything and everything should be jotted down, which makes it tough because, when (by the grace of God) your draft is done, you're going to have to go back and read through every word of it. You know what, I'm gonna take it up a notch. You have to get yourself another notebook and physically write down every note you took.

Okay, I'll cut you some slack. Not every note. I scribble out only the stuff I think is or will be applicable to my next draft. Of these things, I'll go through and read again, and I'll highlight what I think is the most important of the important stuff. That's where "(Working Title) 1st Draft—Notes 2" comes in. Nothing fancy here. I'll copy down those highlighted part, but I might do a little note-ception and jot down a few notes about those notes. Then I'll go on to the next draft.

I'll do this between every draft I write (don't freak out, I only write three) I know it's complicated and convoluted, but this is the method that works best for my crazy brain.

But there are other elements to note taking—ones much less bloodcurdling. I come from an animation background (where I fell in love with script-writing and ended up eloping with it) so one of the methods I feel comfortable with is getting myself a sketchbook and drawing characters, settings, hell, entire scenes if I'm feeling sadistic. But for you stick-figure connoisseurs, there's always Pinterest and You Tube (both of which I use, myself)

I feel one's technique for note taking should be just as organic and personal as one's technique for writing. It doesn't have to be college format, but if that's always worked for you in school, heck, go for it. If that was sheer hell, as it was for me, play around. Find that slumber party conversation between you and your story where you can lay on your bellies, kick up your legs, and giggle all night about this awesome world you're dreaming up.

Current Stats
Watching: Orphan Black
Reading: The Ask and the Answer: Chaos Walking Book 2 by Patrick Ness
Playing: Pokemon Red
^^^What are ya'll up to? Comment below!^^^

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