Monday, September 9, 2013


I've never been good at taking notes. Blame the dyslexia for making my handwriting poor enough that even I can't read it... seriously, the doctor's scrawl across a prescription pad is about a million times more readable...

I write a grocery list and 10 minutes later I'm squinting at the piece of paper like it's covered in ancient Sanskrit poetry. Yes, I have been known to turn the paper upside-down in hopes that I was looking at it the wrong way... (no luck).

But on my laptop, I'm a little better.

Well, sometimes. For university classes... no one could really be much better considering I typed out the lectures nearly word for word (I am not exaggerating). I've taken notes for meetings, and things like that, and am really quite good at that kind of thing (surprisingly, I know).

But for stories? Yeah, being a pantser isn't so conducive for the whole note-writing thing.

I *lent* the first 8 chapters of SCARLIGHT to a writing buddy last month, and I use the word lent because there was no expectation of commenting/critiquing since this is still horrible first-draft stage. She was simply curious and wanted to read what I had so far.

Well, today when I opened my SCARLIGHT file (for the first time in a month, literally. Last save was Aug 9th), I scrolled through it because... heck, I have no idea... probably because she emailed me and reminded me that, despite all the moving/divorce craziness, yes, I actually am trying to write a new novel...

...and I found... this at the very, very end:

need to stop/stand still, introspection to grow. if you are doing, you aren’t growing/learning
so busy, richness of experience, but no time to think
uncertainly/risk ->untapped question, 

Now, I seriously have no idea what this even means, why I wrote it, or how it even connects with this particular story. And yes, it ended like that... with a comma.

Maybe I should just give up on the notion of note-writing...? Since, if anything, they are getting less comprehensive with time, and I can't even blame bad handwriting for this one...

For all those other pantsers out there... do you take notes on future scenes? How do you do it, point form, a quick overview, or snippets of scenes/dialogue?

I won't ask the plotters since, well, they're probably all looking for sharp sticks to make sure I can't get close enough to infect them and their perfect organized note-taking ways.

...sorry for all the ellipses... I am very tired...




  1. I run my life with notes and even though a panster still take notes for things to remember for future chapters

  2. When I pants I keep MOST of the story in my head beyond a list of names if I need it. All my notes are just point form jots at the end of the current section about what might happen after it and nothing more.

    And even when I plot my notes are not even remotely organized. I pretty much just add stuff when I recall it, shove it all together into one giant file and put titles so I can, sometimes, recall where things are. It makes it odd when I have notes file for different drafts OF a story and open the wrong one by mistake :p

    1. Even then :) My current file for this year consists of (in sections):
      blog post
      Very first draft back cover blurb
      Character notes for the 3 major characters
      notes on lisps
      older notes from ages back on magic as poetry
      a semi-history of the town of Sunny Creek (with notes to change the placeholder character names)
      note on 'historical' vs 'modern' use of magic.
      Backstory on the magician (complete with his name)
      Some notes on magician variants (talents)

      .. sometime before nano proper I do plan to try and organize it all :)

    2. Groan... is it bad that just reading that makes my head hurt?

    3. *Laughs* I am actually lucky in that the 'system' for magic in this story is not a system at all, or I'd no doubt have contradictory pages written on IT. (Heck, my one 2011 nano has 8K of notes in one file, including a family tree....) The downside, as I noted, is that the order/amount/lack of contradiction is pretty damn variable and I tend to write out setting stuff more than actual plot, making most of that up on the fly.

      ... come to think of it, I probably write up absurd amounts of notes at times in order to do SOMETHING on the project(s) while waiting for November 1st :)

  3. Pantster here, checking in for roll-call :D Yes, I take notes. I use Scrivener, which makes it really easy to open up a blank scene and jot random stuff to my pantster heart's desire. And yes, sometimes by the time I reach that scene and need to let it actually play out, the notes have become so garbled I just file them away (because I'm a hoarder and never ever throw out anything, even electronically) and start over. But I like the idea of keeping track (sort of) of my creative moments, so I continue to make notes.

    Wow on the note-taking of lectures word for word. Hats off. Seriously.

    1. I've heard that's a good program... I've looked at screen-shots, but I found it baffling... I have no idea why, considering the number of different programs, OS's and systems I have used over the years.

      Haha, at least there isn't any physical evidence when you hoard electronically ;)

      The only reason I'm good at taking notes in lectures/etc is (again) the dyslexia thing. The only reason I got through high-school (with pretty good grades except French & Math) is because I honed my memory and pretty much just memorized as the teacher spoke. Even now, I can often recount conversations, sometimes from years ago.


Type me out a line of Shakespeare or a line of nonsense. Dumb-blonde-jokes & Irish jokes will make me laugh myself silly :)