Does anyone else use notebooks/diaries to keep track of their progress when they're writing?

I average about 2 notebooks a short story - and now that I've started my first novel I've filled an entire notebook and I've barely just begun! It's mostly research and random wanderings...

Am I alone? Or is this something other people do as well?

It's a fairly random discussion point - but I'm really starting to question my sanity when I minutely write down every detail that pops into my head that may or may not be used later...

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TWO notebooks for a short story?! Wow. I have a notebook in which I jot down things overheard, or ideas, but that notebook can last me for ages. I am not a planner. I sit down with an empty head and just start to write and see what happens. The nearest I come to planning actually caused me much embarrassment at the weekend when the combined forces of a flash of inspiration for the book I'm working on, combined with the Ramones on my ipod cutting out all external sound, and a particularly belligerent duck caused me to fall into the pond at the local park on Saturday morning :o)
Perhaps we should have a thread on the pitfalls faced by creative authors. I have forgotten dinner on the stove so many times that I keep having to buy new sets of pots.
Agree. Unfortunately I managed to explode several boiled eggs during a tricky chapter's rewriting. Now the rest of the family tend to do the cooking. Good move.
I use At A Glance Teachers Planner. I used to use notebooks, but as was mentioned below they get easily disorganized. A teachers planner has squares for the days to help keep track of characters or events and time lines, (in the place of the days), So you can free write or plan... in the back the seating charts make great family tree blocks or organized crime blocks etc, as well as the hierarchy of the local police station. Plus there are pages for NOTES in the front and back.

I use a notebook (or notebooks) plus I have a computer program called QuickStory that I use to organize plot points and keep my basic character information in order. The involved stuff (deep character histories, maps of my fictional towns) goes in the notebook. The quick stuff like what color eyes and hair Joe has goes in QuickStory so I don't have to sift through pages and pages when I'm on a roll.
this sounds great to me, Annette! hmmm!
My current novel is around the 70K mark and I also have a separate 'Plot' file which comes to about 10K. It's that big because it also has notes on improvements I want to make in the second draft. I also have a 'Characters' file which isn't anywhere near as big as those two, but I keep all my names and basic character details in there, as well as a list of possible names to attach to new characters if need be.

For ideas that come to me during work or random itnernet play, I tend to use Google Notebook, especially if I find a juicy crime article in the paper.
During the writing of my novel, I had notes all over the place. But I'd try to keep compacting them down, out of some bizarre psychological tidiness quirk. Then when I'd written the book and revised it, I made a new outline so I knew exactly what happened when and where and why.
It's get's really easy to amass lots of notes and research, but I find it tends to distract me from the matter at hand ie: just bloody writing!
Hope this will help. When it really gets going--I found I have one file basically--my outline file. I keep updating it as I go along. So that it's always up to date--it denotes action as it unfolds, and in being up to date it will then be (hopefully) a thoroughly concise outline, chapter by chapter. Just a note--I did my first draft with little planning except for notes at beginning and end of chapters. but now on second draft, I am using this outline process so that the third draft will be exactly the story I want to tell. then I will write a final draft for the novel itself. But I have to second the replies here about keeping character files too.
I usually write a WIP (work in progress) article of about 1,000 words at the point at which I get stuck in a book, so I'll remember all the challenges to talk about later on the PR circuit.It's also a way of getting my head around plot problems. It is also useful for discussion notes on my website later.
I have just one little notebook that I jot down things I don't want to forget-- usually connections between characters. I carry it with me nearly constantly so I can write something wherever I am.

The rest of the 'notes' go into the story. Usually, the story gets a complete make-over right when I get to the climax-- so that all the ugly duckings line up for the finale.

I also use the track changes in MSWord to write notes to myself. And, lastly, I put in little reminders to the "reader" that indicate who was where or what they did before. Helps the reader... and helps me.

The random musings and research, well, those are just scraps of paper and such collected in folders, usually all labeled "Misc" or "Research." A notebook sounds more organize. =)

But, hey, if it works, then what's the problem? We all write differently. I used to write long hand, but now, I'll never go back. NEVER!! You can't make me. Even if I do have over a hundred different pens.

Different is good. Or so the Arby's commercials taught me. =)
Great idea about using tracking to write notrs to yourself and also reader reminders. I'll try this out if you don't mind. Thanks


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