Organizing Your Series with Evernote
Since I graduated and moved back home, I’ve been in an organizing storm. Every day, I’m working on organizing something different, and oftentimes it feels like I make a bigger mess before I actually get organized. Organization doesn’t just mean physically, but digitally. Lately, I’ve been really working on organizing my book series, setting it up for the long term. And of course, because I’m such a big fan, I’m going to talk about organizing your series with Evernote.
If you’re planning a book series (and I think if you’re going to self-publishing route, you definitely ought to be planning to do a series), you need a way to organize. Of course, we can take notes on paper, but so much research is done online now, doesn’t it just make more sense to store it all digitally, too?
Let me make a disclaimer, I have notebooks that I take notes in, too, I have a giant binder for my series bible I’m working on (that’ll be another post at another time), but I backup everything in Evernote.
So today, we’re going to take a peak at my book series in Evernote.
Let’s talk about a few Evernote terminology things – first stacks. I have my series stack, labeled The Cassie Morgan Series. A stack holds a collection of notebooks.
Notebooks hold notes, which is where all your content is. To give you a top-down view, here’s a typical hierarchy of Evernote.
Here’s a look at my stack for my book series.
Characters is the notebook where I keep character information in. Right now, it’s pretty bare, but I’m pulling information back into it. All the major characters have their own note, and I’ll put basic information. I also put pictures in there of what I imagine my characters look like (I got all of these from Pinterest). Just a little reference to have.
Another use I have for the character binder is a list of minor characters for each book. I need to go back and fill this out with all the final characters that made it into The Assassin.
Double Played and all the “The Assassin Three,” “The Assassin Four,” etc, are book-based notebooks. Those are plot ideas I want to appear in specific books. Double Played features scenes I wrote when I was away from my computer (bluetooth keyboard and iPad are a magical combination), web pages clipped of locations in DC, apartment layouts of places in DC (I like to be able to have a floorplan so I can visualize it in my brain as I write), and articles that may inspire a specific plot line. I also keep a document of quotes that I like from the manuscript that I can use for promotion when it gets to that point.
“General Information” is kind of my catch all notebook for the series, a spot where things go when they don’t have a specific spot.
“General Research” is research that covers multiple books or the whole series.
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When it came time for edits, my editor and I used Evernote to collaborate on edits and ideas.I shared the notebook with her, she was able to take pictures of her edits on her phone and upload them straight into Evernote. While we had a few hiccups on missing pages, Evernote worked wonderfully.
The other trick I use for organizing in Evernote is tags. Tags almost add another sub-level of organization, and while working with Double Played, I’ve embraced these tags. Like stacks and notebooks, you can build a hierarchy system of tags, which is what I’ve done for Double Played.
I think these are pretty easy to figure out, right? For instance, a lot of Double Played takes place at the DEA, so I have a note clipped about where that is exactly on the map. That would get a “dp place” tag. Scenes I write on the go are labeled “dp scene.” the only problem with these nested tags is that they don’t show up in order when you view your tags on mobile.
See? Just under “D” but not nested under “Cassie Morgan books.” Hopefully, Evernote will fix that, but I so rarely use the tags for anything on mobile (I usually just label everything on my laptop).
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