Everything In Its Place

I’ve been getting back into my writing lately. One major aspect of that is staying organized. I know that there are plenty of software solutions like Scrivener for those on Macs, Liquid Story Binder XE on Windows, and the cross-platform Celtx (yes, that means Linux too) amongst others, but many of them offer a bit more than I want to get into for my organizing.

For my part I’ve always found it easier and much simpler to keep things tidy with the wiki-style note facility of Tomboy Notes on Linux. Though Tomboy Notes has the advantage of being available on Windows and Mac OS X as well.

Organizing story elements with Tomboy Notes

Organizing story elements with Tomboy Notes

Why it works for me: It enables me to set up links between notes and the ideas in them that, for me at least, makes it easy to see how elements in the story relate to one another. Recurring mentions of my main character ‘Gregory Poe’ across pieces are linked to the note for that character and I can quickly call it up to note physical, personality, or backstory details. The simplicity of this system means I don’t spend a lot of time tweaking what is essentially background work. This was something I noticed was a bit of time sink with Liquid Story Binder XE when I ran Windows.

Synching with Ubuntu One, a Dropbox like service, means that no matter which computer I’m on I can access the notes. Syching with Ubuntu One is no longer available but notes can be exported as html. Tomboy is also a perennial of many Linux distros so it’s likely to be around even as I change machines and OS versions. While nothing in the world of computer software lasts forever I’ve been on Linux since 2005 and Tomboy has been right there with me.

Every writer has their own means of organization from software based to the tried and true index card method. The point is finding something that keeps things available once the brainstorming and world building is done, but doesn’t get in the way of the writing.

Would love to hear from other writers what works for them in the comments. For now, back to the trenches.

Good writing to you!

2 thoughts on “Everything In Its Place

  1. John says:

    I have been using Scrivener for Windows for putting my notes into one place. I save my original file to dropbox which syncs to the net when I save it. When I turn on my laptops including my archlinux netbook, Scrivener works across platforms. The files save as basic rtf format and something else but works. The dropbox autosyncs the latest document(s) when I am away from home when I turn on my laptop and connect to the net. Just don’t have dropbox running on multiple computers at the same time or you will get conflicted copies.

    • D. Manny says:

      I suppose if I export the notes as html or rtf I could do much the same with Ubuntu One (dropbox-like service geared toward Ubuntu distros). Something I will have to look into in case the writing laptop craps out at some point considering it’s 4+ years old.

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