Microsoft OneNote

Before I discovered Microsoft OneNote, which comes packaged with Office 2007, I was using NewNovelist-Version 2. Now, I've always been fond of NewNovelist, but it has its drawbacks. For instance, I started writing my story within the word processing portion of NewNovelist only to discover the export function did not work quite as well as the program claimed. I could export only so many pages. This required some copying and pasting to get the exported Word file up to speed with the NewNovelist file.

I also had trouble with the character profile section. For some obscure reason, it wouldn't hold images. The character questions didn't display in the most reader-friendly format. Too many clicks in my opinion.

Still, even if it didn't work quite the way I'd like, NewNovelist kept everything together that I needed. It kept me organized. And I need all the help I can get when it comes to story organization!

Then my work released and installed Microsoft Office 2007 on my office machine. After playing with the new features, I decided I wanted it installed on my laptop, too. A couple months later and I have it at home now, too.

This means I don't have to use NewNovelist anymore, because I've found something better. OneNote files can be shared across multiple machines. By saving my WIPs on a thumb-drive, I can take my stories and their related data with me.

Although I'm still relatively new to OneNote, here's how I've started setting things up:

1) For Series work I create one OneNote notebook. I name the Notebook after the Series, not the title I'm currently working on.

2) I then name the first tab "Word Docs" and link out to the respective Word documents that fit into the series. Right now, I only have the first book in progress, so there's only one link right now. But I already know that my villian in the first book is going to become my hero in another. Well, as much of a hero as he can become...you can't expect miracles!

3) Then I created a "New Section Group" and named it "Character Profiles".

4) Then I created a tab within the Character Profiles for the current WIP.

5) Inside that tab, I created several new pages and renamed them with my character names. I figured that the characters may appear and reappear in subsequent stories, so I'll want to have their info easily accessible. Yet, I'll also want to know what story they were in, how they first appeared and how they were left.

6) Each character page is populated with a series of questions. Everything from physical description to best friend's name is in there. I answer those as best I can, filling in as the story goes in some instances.

7) I also can use OneNote's capture feature to go browsing for pictures on the internet. When I find one that inspires me, I can capture it from any website and paste it into this same character sheet.

8) Once I've played around enough inside the character group, I can go back to the upper-most level and create another group for "Research". This time each tab is named according to the type of research. For instance, my current book is about vampires. So one tab might be named "Vampire Myths" and another "Biblical References". My story has a lot to do with God and Satan, good vs. evil.

I think you get the idea.

So, if you happen to buy a new computer and it comes with Office 2007, give OneNote a chance. It's a pretty impressive tool.