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Topic Tuesday #9: Notes and Research


Brayon

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There's been a lot of topics the past couple of weeks on Inspiration. So, today let's talk about the next step after inspiration strikes: notes and research. 

 

Notes

For me, after I catch a figment of inspiration I jot it down in my "Notes Journal." I have several of them, from old fashion pen-and-paper notebooks to digital using OneNote by Microsoft. These notes can be as simple as a brief one-sentence description, a fully outlined scene, or just a character name jotted down for later. It's easier to work in digital because I can collate notes that belong together.

 

Examples:

Story Idea: "This young man, from another dimension, lives in a converted barn, with his cousin."

Character Name: Garrett Sullivan.

 

Research

After I do notes, that's when research comes into play. I look at what I have for notes and expand upon them. Take for example, in my story My Son, even though I live in Tampa, I still research places I want to use in the story. Like there is a "Pirate Water Taxi" service that does various spots around Downtown Tampa. They used to go to Lowery Park for the Tampa zoo, but have since stopped that service. So, now I have a choice. Keep it real, and not use them, or go fictional and make them do something they don't do.

 

So, what about you all? How do you handle notes and research?

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Notes and research are definitely very helpful, but the thing I discovered when doing that especially for a long and complicated story is that my notes tend to start looking like another lengthy story!

 

I am trying to use something called a mind map for that reason. It is more like a diagram so you can link different parts in different ways. There are some free apps you can try, I am yet to find the ideal one, so I won't mention one here. I am still in favor of pen and paper at this point.

 

I suppose this is how some authors manage to keep things organized, or otherwise they must have mammoth heads! I have no idea how GRR Martin manages to keep track of everyone in A Song of Ice and Fire. I read somewhere that there are over 1000 characters!

 

 

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42 minutes ago, Laura S. Fox said:

I have no idea how GRR Martin manages to keep track of everyone in A Song of Ice and Fire. I read somewhere that there are over 1000 characters!

I read he has a friend that knows everything about his Song of Fire and Ice series, and when he's stumped he calls him for advice.

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1 hour ago, BHopper2 said:

I read he has a friend that knows everything about his Song of Fire and Ice series, and when he's stumped he calls him for advice.

 

That's great ... for him! Now, could that person be his assistant, the guy who wrote The Expanse series? I think I read that somewhere. So it is up to his friend to remember all 1,000 characters!

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46 minutes ago, Laura S. Fox said:

 

That's great ... for him! Now, could that person be his assistant, the guy who wrote The Expanse series? I think I read that somewhere. So it is up to his friend to remember all 1,000 characters!

Well the Author, James S. A. Corey, of The Expanse series is a pen name for two people, Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck. Abraham and Martin have collaborated a lot on different projects and even has done the Comicbook adaptations of Game of Thrones. So, it's possible that Abraham is the person, but the article I read didn't list a name of the "friend" Martin goes too.

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For me, I created a wikia page for my story Hero Wanted that contains pages filled with the lore of the story with no major character or plot spoilers, of course.  I suggest it to any authors here who want their readers to have access to a place that contains the lore of their stories that they can refer back to later.  Or it can simply be used as a way to categorize all your information for a story that you yourself can refer back to.  Also, there's a unique feature that you can select that enables only the creator or administrator of the wikia to change the pages just so no one else changes them without your permission 😁

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  • 2 weeks later...

Notes:

 

I keep a notebook in my bag at all times, you never know when something will come to you. I also use the notes app on my iPad and the memo feature on my phone. 

 

Research:

 

Most of my stories are fantasy and so I create the worlds from nothing and have full say on town layouts, routines, technology, etc.

On the few stories I've set in real places most of my research was on google maps trying to get a feel for the layout of a place. I would also look up weather patterns, traditions, laws, and depending on the location,  styles of dress.

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