Two nights ago I sat down to begin my typein (yay!). I brought out my scene cards, my story notebook, my story binder, and the first chapter of my marked-up ms. After looking at the sorry state of my worldbuilding notes—loose sheets of paper higgledy-piggledy crammed into my binder, scribbled lines amidst the plot details I had worked out (and abandoned)–I decided to collate them into a master document to have as a handy reference.
I used the Excel spreadsheet David made up for his NaNo project last year as a template. I divided it into several worksheets–People, Places, Time, Terminology, Artifacts, and Miscellaneous. Month names and the details of my weird lunar orbit went into the Time category. Places include all the district names I made up as I needed them; once I have them all I can come up with rough maps of the cities. Terminology is all the Quartz-specific words and expressions—kayan, roh-kayan, shah-kayan, and the like–with definitions. I’ll put descriptions of important items under Artifacts.
My plan is to plug in the worldbuilding details into the spreadsheet as I encounter them in the typein. The categories are flexible since every book requires me to keep track of different things. Season of Rains, for example, had a whole pantheon and many historical documents to keep straight.
How do you organize your worldbuilding notes?
Diana Pharoah Francis has some tips on keeping track of these kinds of story details.
When I feel an urgent need to get organized, I like yWriter. It has all those categories and I can attach them to scenes. But that’s in theory. In reality, I write little scraps of whatever anywhere and don’t bother to put them into a single document UNLESS I’m actually likely to forget them and since I’m one of those freaky people that carry a million gazillion factoids cross-referenced like an encyclopedia in my head AND continually use those bits in stories I’ll never write down, not likely to forget. (It also makes me less able to interact with normal people, apparently. :rolls eyes at self: )
For my languages, I’m now putting it all on a weebly site that is as yet unpublished. I’m using blog pages to handle dictionaries and tags to create the references and look-up. Fun.
I think I have yWriter on my computer somewhere. What’s a weebly site?
My web host was weebly.com. They allow multiple blog or regular pages, are easy to use, and customize enough to suit me. The blog pages, especially.
But wikis and nice backends are good for organizing worldbuilding.
Ah, okay. 🙂
The Pencil Neck says
Liquid Story Binder has a “dossier” file type that I use to organize a lot of it. I create Dossier’s for each scene, each character, and sometimes create them for settings/stages, objects, and things.
I will also create spreadsheets for any other things I need: lists of randomly generated words and names from various languages that I check off and make notes for as I use them, spell information, etc.
I also use Vizio to create flowcharts and floor plans and occasionally for mind mapping.
I used to have to create extensive directory structures to house everything, but that’s become simplified since using LSB.
Oh, that’s a great idea to have lists of randomly generated words and names. Would save my characters from getting named after smelly cheeses and such. 😀