I've got a question, forgive me if it's been discussed before.
I do a certain amount of research and I also just pick up bits and pieces reading in the newspaper and the like -- origin of words, interesting science facts, etc. Most of the research notes I might compile are for a specific story, but I probably won't use it all and some of that research could then be useful for other stories. And of course, once you have all those research details, the trick is remembering that you have them so that you can use them in your writing as needed.
So, does anyone have a good system or software program for organizing and cross-referencing research notes?
September 4th, 2003, 11:42 PM
Oddly enough I find that Power Point works pretty good for this kind of thing. Or Front Page. The idea is that you can set up web-page style notes.
For example you can have a page that lists all the characters in a particular story, and then each character has a link to a separate page that give all of that person's important information. You could set up a similar page for places, weapons, religions, technologies, or whatever else comes up.
I have a running Power Point file on historical military information. It has a bunch of stuff on roman military organization, viking history, the advent of gunpowder, horses and cavalry tactics - etc.
September 5th, 2003, 12:29 PM
Hmm, that sounds interesting. My husband is a Power Point expert, but I don't yet have it on my computer. But would it work for general research info that's not specifically for any one story? I guess it would, since it's the same process.
September 5th, 2003, 03:09 PM
When I started writing my first effort, what five years ago. I gather so much information on medieval society. That I started printing it out on thick card and putting it into plastic wallets. I have used these "flip cards" again and again.
I also am doing the same with the "English civil war period" I am using now. Old fashioned I know, but it works for me , along with the reference books I have on the the medieval period.
September 5th, 2003, 09:23 PM
When we were discussing writing software some freebees were mentioned in this Thread (http://www.sffworld.org/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=6117). Some of them were very naive but as research tools they may work OK. They have areas for files and character profiles etc. No one says you have to write a novel in the main part... you could use it for more notes or story outlines.
September 8th, 2003, 06:50 PM
Thanks for the suggestions, guys. I have sort of the index card set-up now. I guess I just have to get my affairs in order. :)