Monday, February 13, 2006

Book it Ten

Ten Things for the Writer's Notebook

1. Mr.'s Top Ten Questions And Answers About Writer's Notebook and Writer's Notebooks -- What You Can Do.

2. William Eastler's Tips for Young Writers includes creative ideas for a writer's notebook.

3. What's in Your Little Writer's Notebook? by Shery Ma Belle Arrieta-Russ

4. Something to put in your writer's notebook: offers a Fiction Writer's Character Chart.

5. Examples to follow for your notebook: Karen S. Wiesner, author of First Draft in 30 Days, has examples of character, setting, plot and scene outlines as well as other notes for one of her paranormal romance novels here.

6. Freeware/Shareware virtual notebooks: Jonathan's offers The Magic Notebook for free download; FreeMind has gotten some raves from some writers I know as a great virtual notebook; offers a free trial version of their mind-mapping software program MindManager 6; offers a free 30 day test drive of their software for both Mac and Windows users; most praised by other writers as a terrific virtual notebook: Richard Salsbury's freeware program Rough Draft; Voodoopad offers a lite version free for download; and last but not least, Simon Haynes' yWriter freeware works well as a virtual notebook for breaking down novels into workable scenes and chapters, too.

7. Rie Sheridan's article The Writer's Little Black Book.

8. Not all writers think notebooks are worthwhile or even "really writing", as Caro Clarke points out in her advice article The Writer's Notebook, or Let's not really write. (We won't tell Caro I've been using them for over thirty years.)

9. Writers Notebook the writing discussion board.

10. Finally, an ancient PBW writer notebook trick: Get a bunch of fill-in information forms (job application, resume forms, love and compatibility test, etc.) and fill them out for your characters. You can also draw up a horoscope or do a mystical reading to get some different spins on your characters' birth signs, personalities, and fates.


  1. If I had the time to keep a notebook, I'd use it for writing!

    At this stage in my 'career', ideas come faster than I can use them. By the time I've finished "[High Concept Here]", I'll have new obsessions and ideas - why wed myself to my past?

  2. I have one computer file where I write down story ideas, and another where I have fragments of information, cool phrases, etc. that might be useful someday. When I come up with something when I'm not at my computer, I write it down on a scrap of paper and stick it in my pocket. (Of course, occasionally my notes have made it into the laundry... ack!)

    Re #10: I usually do a numerology reading on my characters' names - a good site for this is I also like to figure out their Myers-Briggs personality types. And the other day I downloaded this cool program where, if you put in a name or phrase, it will give you something like "13. IMPIETY, CYNICISM" or "500. ELECTION, HONORS, STATURE" or "14. DEVOTED TO THE POINT OF SACRIFICE." Good for jogging the imagination :) It's called the Cabalistic Oracle, and it lives here:

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  5. Bloody bollicks. :p I couldn't get my link to work right.

    One last try:

    I have a PDA, a small notebook for sketching out ideas and a three ring binder that I all use for writing.

    I also use worksheets from the Organized Writer at You can get some of them for free when you sign up for the newsletter.

    I love worksheets so I make print outs of some that I have found and some I have made. I even created a daily writing chart for my three ring. I write down my word count and if I wasn't as productive as I am supposed to be, I write down why and how to improve.

    :} I will be linking to this one. I've been looking for a great collection of writing notebook articles. Thanks!

  6. Hi PBW,

    Alison Kent sent me, though I stop in here every day. Love your blog. You're a true inspiration.

    As for the notebook thing, I use a spiral-bound notebook, and sticky notes.

  7. I've actually never tried this. I have a folder for story ideas, but this seems like much more than that. Thanks for the links!


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