Hello, writers. We've talked before about notebooks, and I was just going through mine. It's a hardcover, with unlined pages... basically a sketchbook.  I jot down scenes that ought to go in future stories, ideas for future stories, lines I want to use some day, strange things I overheard or strange scenes that played out in front of me on the street. I sleep with the notebook beside me in case I have something to write down in the middle of the night.

The last time we were talking about notebooks, someone brought up that it's hard to know what to do with all the stuff in your notebook. Where do all these ideas and golden lines and whatnot go?

Here's what I do, not that it's necessarily the right thing. It sort of works for me.

Every few months I go through with a different colored pen (I have a lot of different colored pens) and put a star next to ideas and lines that still seem good. If they've already got a star next to them (yeah, it's not a perfect system) then I draw a circle around them, in yet a third colored pen. If there's a way to integrate them into something I'm already working on, I go to the computer and type them into the appropriate file... or create a file for them. (The file can be called something like “lines I really want to use.”)

If they don't belong in any file-- if they're plans for the future-- then I mark them with a tape flag or by dog-earing the notebook page.

Of course, there are more ideas and lines than we can ever use. And it's possible that just writing them down is sometimes an end in itself. It's very satisfying to write something down.

 How about you? What do you do to organize and use the notebook stuff?

Tonight’s challenge:

Think of something that happened to you today.

Write about that incident, but instead of having it happen to you, have it happen to a character in a story.

The story should be a romance, a spy thriller, or the tale of a callow youth who, aided by his stout companion, must obtain the sacred jewel of Togwogmagog in order to save the realm.

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