The Importance of Note Taking in Fiction Writing

The Importance of Note Taking in Fiction Writing 1024 576 Reader Views

by Author Philip Yang, Currently writing Splattering Yet Endearing, a romance drama series.

I take so many notes when I write my fiction. I have about 3 or 5 reference documents on top of the story and the outline. Why do I do this?

Well, for any lengthy story, at some point, continuity and world building are established. Characters and places have set characteristics or past events that may play a role in present or future events in the story. If you are writing a short story, sure, you can just re-read whatever you wrote to recall the past. When you have 200 or 400 pages of story, though, trying to figure out what happened on page 1 or page 62 isn’t so easy anymore.

Splattering Yet Endearing

Journaling or making timelines helps in the long run when writing fiction. I literally stop myself whenever a new significant event happens to the world or to one of the characters, to add to my special notes or bullet point lists. By keeping running tabs on everything, I can maintain continuity as well as track the development and possible changes that occur as time goes on in the story. Of course, this all also helps to avoid errors in continuity and consistency as the story goes along. In addition, it helps me when I want to quickly reference a character’s development for the last 100 pages, or the first 100 pages. Yes, the tracking is tedious. But I find it far easier than going back to re-read 50 pages to find out how a character has been doing or how the world has been developing.

A very recent example of my note taking is in my in-progress fiction series, Splattering Yet Endearing. One of my characters dates quite often, with numerous, random strangers. The details are so small, but I still added everyone this character was dating, including the names of his dates, what happened on each date and what each of them looked like. This helps me because I can easily reference any one of the people he is dating by looking back at my list.

Another example of tracking the details in my writing is clothing. I have a lengthy bullet point list of the clothes each character wears, including in-world clothing brand names I made up. The characters certainly won’t wear the same thing every day. On the other hand, they can’t wear random clothing that appears out of the blue. So whenever I need to dress one of the characters up for the day or for a special event, I go back to my bullet point list of clothing. Of course, I also add to the list whenever a character buys or acquires new clothes. The notes give me a quick sense of what each character can wear, and any possible favorite outfits they have too.

The note taking also gives me confidence and assurance that I am not creating scenes that are out of character or repetitive. I keep the quality high and deliver solid content by being able to quickly recall what has been going on in the world or with a particular character. For editing and quality checking purposes, I highly recommend keeping some reference notes whenever you write fiction!

About the Author

My name is Philip Yang and I like to write rich, immersive fiction with captivating emotion, fueled by blinding passion. I am working on a romance drama series called Splattering Yet Endearing. This series is what I intend to write for most of my life or the entire rest of my life. There are writing advice posts on my blog, Phil Tells Stories. Besides writing, I enjoy chatting with readers and writers, and learning about personal finance.

Connect with Philip Yang!

Website: https://ptsphiltellsstories.home.blog/
Social Media: https://ptsphiltellsstories.home.blog/2020/12/13/social-media/

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