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 Season of Rains, for example, had a whole pantheon and many historical documents to keep straight.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.