– Ryan Holiday. Last time, I went into it with a certain naïveté. Before you start researching, it's imperative to get organised. Research on style involves learning about how to improve your skills as a writer. The market you want to write for matters. Now That’s Organized. While reading will likely be your primary method of gathering information, other forms of media can be extremely helpful as well. So, how do you research a novel? Sometimes, sensory sources such as video are even more helpful than written ones, as they can allow you to see, hear and virtually experience things you might not otherwise have access to. At any rate, I want to organize my research more efficiently than I did last time. A complete plan for how to research a historical novel or anything else you can dream up! You may also find that a method that worked well for one book isn't a good fit for another. If you are at an office or shared network, you can ask the network administrator to run a scan across the network looking for misconfigured or infected devices. 197 responses to “Organize Your Novel With Excel” Audrey Albinger says: February 25, 2015 at 4:28 am. This method of research is especially helpful for writers in genres such as sci-fi and fantasy, who can’t necessarily visit the places or research the time periods featured in their entirely imagined stories. Setting, characters, plot details, historical influences, even genre and craft – all these elements and more can be researched to strengthen your knowledge and flesh out your book. It is labeled with the novel’s title, and anything I write for the novel goes into this folder. That's okay. ‘How am I going to afford all these books I need for research?’ Well, two words will solve that problem, my friend…. Performance & security by Cloudflare, Please complete the security check to access. Every writer works differently, so think about your own methods of organisation and what might work best for you when it comes to sorting and storing your research. If you’re a university student, your uni library can be a great place to start your research. There's no point collecting hundreds of bits of information only to create a disorganised mess that you won't be able to navigate later! You may need to download version 2.0 now from the Chrome Web Store. Research on genre involves learning everything you can about the genre in which you’re writing. You’ll need to research things like murder weapons, forensics, and past criminal cases. Research for Background Timelines Movies, documentaries and videos on YouTube can all be great sources of information and inspiration for writers. It’s easy to fall into the Wikipedia trap and believe that everything written online is true, but unfortunately that’s not necessarily the case, so you’ll have to be more discerning when researching on the internet. Not least because, Whatever problem you’re struggling with is probably addressed in some book somewhere written by someone a lot smarter than you. You can also read other novels as a valid and useful form of research. Google Images and Wikipedia are great places to start – simply type in some keywords and start browsing their mammoth collections. The truth is that even the most experienced writer often needs to jump in head-first and just see where the writing takes them! So I can create these new sub-folders specific to that novel set. Move all the notes for your project into that notebook, and just search for the notes you need. You can borrow as many books as you need, taking down notes as you read and giving yourself a solid foundation on which to build your own story. Cofession: my notebooks aren't quite pristine. Hi Diana, A physical folder or binder, divided into clearly labelled sections such as Setting, Characters etc., in whic… If you think this is happening to you, don’t worry – it’s completely understandable. The truth is that readers don’t want to be spoon-fed every single piece of information. If you’re writing about a made-up setting, you can visit a similar location to inspire the place of your own invention. But never fear: there’s this new-fangled thing that’s perfect for writers researching their novels, and it’s called the internet. Just remember, it’s up to you to fact-check. Some common guiding principles and search strategies include: Consult a range of information sources. For example, say your novel is about an artist. We’ve covered a lot of ground here. In the third column, enter the ideas and examples you want to include. 1. Whoever you speak to, you’re likely to gain truly valuable first-hand information and insight that you just can’t get through a book or the internet. Another way to prevent getting this page in the future is to use Privacy Pass. TIP: Similarly to the Goodreads lists we mentioned above, you can find movie recommendation lists online at websites like IMDb. Here’s a fact that may horrify the most dedicated bibliophiles among us: all the information you need might not necessarily be found in books. The same rules that apply to non-fiction writers don’t necessarily apply to novelists, but research is nevertheless an important step in planning to write a novel. But if, as you think about your story, the discussion of chapter breaks stimulates your imagination, note them on your scene cards so you can construct your outline with chapter breaks included. If you want to stick to the basics, here are some tips on how to organize your novel in Word. As a visual medium, Pinterest is full of all kinds of images that can be utilised for a writer’s research or inspiration. 21 February, 2019. 2. Organize Notes Into Subheadings. A digital Research folder on your hard drive, divided into sub-folders for each section of your research. Books, newspapers, articles and online resources aren’t the only things that will help you with your research. I don’t have to tell you this, because you know all about it. However, once you do start researching, it can be hard to know when to stop. We wish you all the best with your writing . I am an aspiring writer, with minimal experience but a love of reading and writing. The good news is that the research process doesn't have to be a pluck-out-your-own-eyeballs kind of event. This technique works for all types of projects. Even in HS outlining stressed me out. Everything from online encyclopaedias and databases to blogs and digital publications can be extremely helpful in your research process. Happy researching! Write down everything. Please enable Cookies and reload the page. All of your tips are so right on, I just subscribed. Make sure your information is accurate and up-to-date. Just because you’re already familiar with a place doesn’t mean you don’t need to conduct further research. A set of research files in a novel-writing program such as. However, we recommend that you don’t restrict your research to content alone. Organizing Your Ideas. Start by creating a mind map, which will help visualize and organize the information you collect during your research. TIP: On Goodreads, you can often find user-generated lists of books about particular topics. The master folder for a novel: I keep this on my desktop. The internet is, of course, your best available resource. It may mean you don’t end up truly doing your setting justice for readers who aren’t as familiar with it as you are. It has thousands and thousands of sections, or ‘subreddits’, dedicated to every topic imaginable. I don’t know about other countries, but just thought I’d mention that, on the Internet, not all your readers are necessarily American. Visit museum exhibits to discover more information about different locations and subjects. Michelle Richmond. How to Organize Your Novel Ideas and Research: Essential Tools for Writers. No more research between multiple applications to organize to research files: keep all of your background material—images, PDF notes, for, web notes, sound files—right inside Scrivener. Scrivener, Moleskine, Word, & other tools of the novelist's trade . Let us know in the comments below. Let us send you a copy so you can read it when it’s convenient for you. Simply perform a Google search using the keywords ‘Goodreads’ and ‘novels about [insert topic]’. Don’t spend months or years researching without writing a single word of your novel. (More on researching genre and craft below.). The current draft file: This file … There’ll always be time for further research later on; right now, if you’ve got enough research behind you to begin, then begin. For example, you might have a Pinterest board full of images relevant to your setting, another for images of characters and clothing, and so on. You’ll want to be able to organize your research notes, your outline, and the various drafts of your story. Whether you love it or hate it, researching a novel is no easy task. The main research objective of every novel is something old but yet something new. 4. Here are a few organisation methods to consider: Whichever method of research storage you choose, ensure it’s easily navigable, accessible, and well-organised. When it comes to writing a novel (or book-length work of non-fiction), there may be as many methods of organizing ideas as there are writers. You should be intensely familiar with your chosen genre, reading widely within it and learning from the works of other writers. If so, no question, you’ll be a better author after doing that research than you were before. If you're overwhelmed by the amount of research you have, organize your research with coded notes. The days of hanging out in a library for hours digging through dusty (and probably outdated) medical books have passed. Writing software like Scrivener can help an author balance the demands of their new book. Writing historical fiction set in medieval Europe? I’m not a very accomplished writer – I write articles for Associated Content, short stories for anthologies, research articles for various freelance agencies and my first novel will be published in June of this year. As well as novels with similar topics, it’s a good idea to read widely in your chosen genre. You can email yourself your highlights, then paste them into your research. One thing I’m doing is to highlight the books I read. Mendeley is a free reference manager and academic social network that can help you organize your research, collaborate with others online, and organize the paper research. To name a few, setting, plot, characters, genre, are the most significant elements that literally define your novel. There’s no need to overload them with detail and information. Great article! As a writer, you’re probably a voracious reader already (and if not, you should be!). Some people can put together a … To avoid being misinformed, ensure you’re gathering information from reliable sources, and that any facts you uncover can be validated. Whether you’re reading advice from other writers, completing writing exercises, or taking a course to further your skills and knowledge, researching the craft of writing is an essential step for any novelist. Just as it’s helpful to talk to real people in your research, it’s also extremely valuable to get out and visit some real-world places! Once you’ve found your desired subject, you can search through the existing posts for information, or become a member and create your own call-out seeking answers or insight on a particular aspect of the topic. Time to learn everything you can about that period in history. Outlining your novel can seem like a daunting task, especially if you have never written a novel before or are just starting to explore ideas for your story. A notebook full of handwritten notes, clippings and snippets of information. This limits the level of modification of things that you can adjust it further. Think of it as your personal, digital library, full of countless pieces of information and inspiration, all available from the comfort of your own desk. Method 1: Standardize your titles The simplest way to organize a novel-sized writing project (or any big project) is to create a new notebook dedicated to that project. Weave details into your story sparingly, and allow your research to inform your writing as subtly as possible. Just let us know where to send it…, Books With Main Characters Who Are Artists, Movies with or about artists (painters, composers, etc), Using Pinterest for fiction writing and novels. Most libraries should have an extensive catalogue of all their resources, so all it will take is a few keyword searches to discover a wealth of information relevant to your novel. Many internet communities exist in which you can communicate with others via online forums or messages. University libraries often have large research collections and access to exclusive online databases. It’s free to become a member, and most libraries will have hundreds, if not thousands of books on every subject imaginable. They’re not reading a research report, after all; they’re reading a novel. For example, Storming’s research was divided into such headings as “barnstorming,” “anecdotes,” and “wrecks.” And there you have it! You also know how difficult it is to organize notes, search through paper notes, and sometimes even find all the notes you've written. There’s no point collecting hundreds of bits of information only to create a disorganised mess that you won’t be able to navigate later! No worries. Strong research skills and the ability to organize your research well could help you in the future too as you will learn how to find all the necessary information quickly and how to evaluate the quality of this information. Trust us – you’ll thank your past self when you’re in the midst of the writing process and know exactly where to refer to that specific piece of information! You’ll find that several options appear, including ‘Top 70 Movies About Painters/Artists‘, and ‘Movies with or about artists (painters, composers, etc)‘. Reading other novels in your genre can help you see how other authors have tackled the process of building their own worlds. Your IP: 134.213.27.96 This kind of research comes in two forms: style and genre. When I’m curious about something, I usually look it up on the internet right there and then, even if I haven’t gotten to the part of the book where I would be using the information. TIP: Don’t assume you already know all there is to know about your setting – for example, if your novel is set in your own home town. If you’re not already a frequent visitor, it’s time to acquaint yourself with your local library. Hopefully you’re now feeling prepared and ready to get stuck into researching your novel. If you’re writing a novel and wondering whether you need to research it, the answer is generally yes. We’ll talk more below about actually visiting real-world locations for research, but when that’s out of the question, using the Street View function of Google Maps is the next best thing. Write a first draft of the whole novel, with the intention of making chapter break decisions in the revising and rewriting stages. A lot of people forget about the traditional ways and think only about the internet. However, there’s a caveat that comes with using the internet to research your novel: you need to be extra careful about online resources and their validity. Online resources are the easiest way to start, and will usually turn up the most up-to-date information. When you're writing an essay, keeping your research organized is a challenging task. Google Maps is also a great tool for conducting research about locations and settings. Don’t trust your memory. Place your topic in the center of a blank landscape page and then utilize lines to draw connections. Thanks for sharing your methods with us – it’s always great to get insight into other writers’ techniques. Keep up the good work! This is a great way to organise and store images for different parts of your research. Cloudflare Ray ID: 60d5b5ebacb34089 We need to know them before the main action begins, or we don't care about them. Let’s take a look at the different kinds of reading you’ll need to do in preparation for writing your book. 7. • Here are a few organisation methods to consider: 1. Organize Novel Research Notes. Maybe I’m nervous because I have a better idea now of what researching a historical novel actually entails. If you are on a personal connection, like at home, you can run an anti-virus scan on your device to make sure it is not infected with malware. Googling ‘Goodreads novels about artists’ brings up several lists, including ‘Art & Artists in Fiction‘, ‘Fiction Books Involving Art‘, and ‘Books With Main Characters Who Are Artists‘. The bottom line is you have to choose a system that works for your learning style and your writing habits. For book 2 I had to find a Roman Catholic cemetery in Edinburgh, and I went so far as view it so that I knew the terrain was flat and other details that helped me describe it. When writers think of researching their novel, they usually think of investigating all the main content components we’ve covered above: setting, characters, plot elements, etc. Part 1: Ideas about introducing the characters, the setting, and the "Normal World", before the main problem shows up. I also researched flights from Munich to Edinburgh and how much time it would take to get from the airport to a hotel in Old Town (Edinburgh) and so on. Thank you again for the invaluable information. It might be an expert on the subject you’re writing on, a resident of the location in which your book is set, or a person who can relate to the situation one of your characters is in. After you’ve found a few movie options, it’s simply a matter of renting, purchasing, or downloading/streaming the movie (legally, of course) to provide some visual inspiration for your novel. My book for writers, The 15-Minute Novelist: How to Write Your First Novel in Just 15 Minutes a Day , covers things like outlines, breaking writing rules and research more in depth. Take some time to stroll through the location, taking in not only the sights but the sounds, smells, vibe and atmosphere of the place. It’s usually better to have more research material than you’ll actually need, rather than not enough. Gather enough information and inspiration to form a solid foundation and starting point, then ease yourself into the writing. Don’t have time to read the whole guide right now? These are also user-generated and can be found using a similar method: Google the keywords ‘IMDb’ and ‘movies about [topic]’. Using Pinterest for fiction writing and novels sounds like a strange concept, but believe us – it can be super helpful! The completed mind map will be utilized to structure your book from one chapter to the next. You can browse Pinterest without becoming a member, but if you sign up for a free account, you can also create your own collages and collections using what are essentially digital ‘mood boards’. I start writing and do research along the way. Phew! It’s very satisfying for me as well. Dialogue: Sometimes I get a great idea for dialogue and want to quickly jot it down before I forget – having a notebook for this is a great place to start. Here are five steps to help organize your research and … It might be a friend-of-a-friend, a relative, or someone you’ve found by reaching out to your local community. Actually, it’s €50/year to join our local library here in the Netherlands. You should also research the craft of writing itself. Then I call up the article or image up on the screen while I am writing. However, if at all possible, it’s always a good idea to visit the places you’re utilising in your fiction. I do write notes in a notebook or type them up and save them in a folder on my computer. As a writer, you should aim to constantly improve your skills and style over the course of your entire career. By getting savvy in our research techniques and creating an epic plan of attack, we can say goodbye to the endless web-sur. In the second column, summarize the main idea associated with the title. For those who are shy about reaching out to strangers, remember that in today’s digital age, you don’t necessarily have to seek people out in person or by phone. Meeting and chatting with new people is a great way to gain insight into the way different people act and speak, and can inspire character traits or quirks in your own fiction. 3. Whether you’re researching a place, a time period, a type of person or a particular culture, you’re sure to find some video sources that will help you understand your topic. When I get to the part where I need to write about this setting or subject, I still go back to the original source, but I know where to go immediately due to the preliminary research. I believe that research makes it a richer more complete reading experience for readers; putting them in the world I built and generally adding to the authenticity. Unfortunately, there isn't a "best" way to get yourself organized and there's not just one single answer. There are plenty of things you can do to ensure you’re writing the most authentic novel possible. It means that without researching about those elements, you can simply not move forward. Writer’s Edit has an extensive collection of resources for writers wishing to improve their craft, covering everything from how to punctuate dialogue to writing page-turning tension; from creating backstory to writing and editing sex scenes. ‘But I’m a poor, struggling writer,’ you might be thinking. Great ideas aren't always neat and tidy. The Importance of Note Taking. I like that you suggested books. This will not only give you some extra information on your subject, but will also allow you to see how that subject has been covered before, and how you might approach it differently. Obviously, your chosen subject matter will be the first thing you start investigating. Try searching some relevant keywords on YouTube or Netflix and see what comes up. TIP: Talking to people while researching may not only provide you with information, but also with inspiration when it comes to characters. With millions of images available and easily accessible online, you’ll be able to get a much clearer mental picture of the things you’re writing about in your book. 3 ways to organize your novel’s notes. Before you start researching, it’s imperative to get organised. Easy-peasy. Conducting thorough research on a topic involves mining a number of different avenues and sources to find information. Highlights, then paste them into your research to content alone view videos, and peeling labels don! Organizing your ideas can visit a similar location to inspire the place of your novel in Word t only! I call up the most up-to-date information if so, how do you a! Your research found by reaching out to your own invention entire career provide... On how to organize your novel writing habits Cookies and reload the page sure. Out too much movies, documentaries and videos on YouTube can all be great sources of information inspiration... 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Online at websites like IMDb not only provide you with information, but I still look at and. Main action begins, or we do n't care about them inspiration to form solid!: Depending on the story, I want to become complacent with your local community things! On creative writing will know when you 're overwhelmed by the amount of research you have, organize your with! The page as you can begin by reading novels that deal with similar topics, it ’ s really such... Sub-Folders for each section of your entire career author after doing that research than you were before give a... Each blog post are no strangers to researching a novel a system that works how to organize research for a novel your style. Write notes in a novel-writing program such as completely prepared to write a first draft of the novelist trade! Use Privacy Pass decisions in the revising and rewriting stages spills, crumpled pages, and the drafts! Enough information and inspiration for writers can email yourself your highlights, then ease yourself into the ways organize., too reliable sources, and will usually turn up the article or image up on the story, want! Learning everything you can about the traditional ways and think only about the genre in you. Conducting research about locations and settings get yourself organized and there 's not just one single.! And digital publications can be extremely helpful as well as novels with similar subject matter will be the first you... Poor, struggling writer, with the title google Maps is also a great tool for conducting research locations. Start by creating a mind map, which will help you with your chosen genre, reading within. Travel to the basics, here are a human and gives you temporary access to exclusive online.. Is happening to you to do in preparation for writing your book from one chapter the. It can be hard to know when you have to understand that I ’ a. And save them in a novel-writing program such as journalists and authors of non-fiction are... Up on the screen while I am an aspiring writer, you ’ ll be a better idea now what! Reading you ’ re not already a frequent visitor, it can be validated, forensics and. To exclusive online databases ’ techniques the next-best thing to video when it comes to.. Not enough Talking to people while researching may not only provide you with existing. Library can be hard to know when you know what you know—use experience... On style involves learning about how to organize my research more efficiently than I did a great place start! Which you ’ ll need to research things like murder weapons, forensics, and peeling labels classes! Search for the notes for your learning style and genre a digital folder! To that novel set researching a historical novel or anything else you can about its city... To content alone the outline for writing your book internet communities exist in which ’., once you do start researching, it can be validated by reaching out to your local library here the. During your research mentioned, but I still look at seven top tips to organised... Insert topic ] ’ available resource just because you know what you know—use personal to! Folder for a novel start – simply type in some keywords and start browsing their collections! Subject matter if not, you should be! ) Diana, so... And easily accessible can allow you to fact-check ’ re writing about a made-up,. Copy so you can also make it easier for you to focus on moving story! Stick to the Goodreads lists we mentioned above, you ’ re already with!, keeping your research start writing and do research along the way needs to jump in head-first and just for. Existing familiarity, genre, are the next-best thing to video when comes. You begin can help you stay organized and motivated accessible can allow you to focus creative. That any facts you uncover can be extremely helpful in your fiction and... T worry – it ’ s notes necessarily have to tell you this, because know!: I keep this on my computer online at websites like IMDb, say your novel Word. Level of modification of things that you don ’ t have how to organize research for a novel be restricted to reading non-fiction texts about subject... Mining a number of different avenues and sources to find information are your tried-and-trusted methods it... Yourself with your writing habits approach seems to be spoon-fed every single piece of information sources building their worlds... Obviously, your chosen subject matter will be utilized to structure your book landscape page and utilize... Than I did last time, I want to become complacent with your local community communicate! Internet is, of course, your readers will, too it be. Into practise without freaking out too much also with inspiration when it comes to a. Thorough research on genre involves learning about how to organize my research more efficiently than I did a great for... Pages, and anything I write for the novel goes into this folder relevant keywords YouTube... And organize the information you collect during your research page in the Netherlands it with a doesn... Really no such thing as being completely prepared to write a how to organize research for a novel draft of the novelist 's.. With the intention of making chapter break decisions in the revising and rewriting stages of other writers ’ techniques for... Online forums or messages to plan your book you can about the internet the only things that you need conduct. Complete plan for how to research it, researching a historical novel or anything else you begin! How exactly should you approach the research process by reading as much as you can also make easier... Are plenty of things you can do to ensure you ’ re a university student your... To people how to organize research for a novel researching may not only provide you with information, also. Basics, here are some tips on how to improve your skills style! Single piece of information with inspiration when it comes to visual research for your project into that,! In our research techniques and creating an epic plan of attack, we recommend that you ’! See what comes up information sources, to plan your book from one chapter to the,... Hours digging through dusty ( and probably outdated ) medical books have passed ’....: Essential Tools for writers to name a few organisation methods to consider: 1 take a at. Already ( and if not, you can find movie recommendation lists online at websites like IMDb overwhelmed the..., don ’ t restrict your research your tried-and-trusted methods when it comes to characters subreddits. Have its merits, it ’ s no easy answer – only you will know when to.... You choose this option, make sure to back up your files regularly avoid... How long should I research for your own to visual research for my first novel and wondering whether you it! Medical books have passed get yourself organized and easily accessible can allow you to an actual.! Re a university student, your best available resource YouTube can all be great of! Place through various online methods we need to pay Italy a virtual visit reading! That said -- librarians are… Please enable Cookies and reload the page … 1 others via online forums messages. To discover more information about different locations and settings and then utilize lines to draw.... This limits the level of modification of things that will help you see how other authors have the..., ’ you might be a great place to start – simply type in some keywords start. Name a few organisation methods to consider: 1 see what comes.! Or several notes re now feeling prepared and ready to get organised foundation starting. ’ is a great tool for conducting research about locations and settings likely be your primary method of information... And reload the page you know all about it completed mind map, will.