Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Keeping Track of Research

Writer Wednesday

As a writer , you know the importance of keeping track of your research. You may spend hours looking through books or surfing the internet on a particular subject. Then, when it's time to use that information in your current writing project, you need to get your fingers on it immediately. You don't want to spend another two hours looking for the notes you took or the copies you made. Thus, having organized files for your research is imperative.

Here are some basic tips to start:

1. Create a new folder, binder or file box for each project you are working on. Small projects such as magazine articles will have less notes than a larger project.

2. Save all work related to a project within that file. This would include copies you made from research books, handwritten notes you take from books or workshops, or articles you print from the internet. You should also place in there any project outlines, photos or maps associated with the project. For example, if you are writing a thriller set in Paris, you will have maps of the city streets, landmarks and transportation system.

3. For larger projects, create folders within folders. If you are writing an historical novel set in Victorian England, you will need to research clothing, food, geography, language, entertainment, carriages, etc.. Each of these should have it's own folder or section in a binder so it's easy to locate when you need it. For example, if a character is a student at Eton, you will need to know where the school is, what holidays they had, what they wore, and what they were taught--everything you need to make the book as authentic as possible.

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