Authors organize their ideas and thoughts differently, and sometimes not at all. When I first started writing, the ideas for my novels would come to me, and I filed them away in my head. Great place, right? The story would begin to grow over time as I went through my day. Eventually, I’d have enough story clutter in my mind that I would decide to begin writing the story.
It worked for me mostly because I didn’t know any better.
As I moved forward, I’d take notes. I might be in a history class and begin to daydream about a story and take notes in my history notebook. Later, I might be home reading a magazine and something I read in an article might spark an idea for my story, so I’d pull that page out and write a few notes on the margin. This would go on like this until one day, I’d decide to begin writing my story. If I had a question or wanted to refer to one of my notes, I had no idea where they were. I was still relying mostly on my memory of what I’d written down in random places.
You can probably see that this is not an effective way to organize your notes or thoughts. I did eventually get file folders and toss things in there. Since this was pre-computers, I’m sure many writers had the same type of organizational habits. Stuff notes and index cards and magazine pages into file folders that held much of the ideas and research for their novels until they needed it, then the author could easily retrieve it.
The Best Tools to Use to Organize Your Story Ideas
Thankfully today, we have many options and places to organize our story ideas. We can still use physical file folders, or journals, but we have better (in my opinion) electronic options. What we want, ultimately, is to have a place to capture and store those ideas, and easy way to find it all when we want it.
Maybe the easiest place is a Word Document, Google Doc, or any type of word processing software. Even if you did your brainstorming on paper or in a journal, it’s a good idea to transfer it to an electronic file which will be easier to access later when you begin to write your story.