History That Never Was

Home of Dawn Vogel: Writer, Historian, Geek

The Importance of Notes

Notebook with handwritten textWhen I’m not writing, I’m often gaming. Some of our games are bi-weekly or monthly, but I also run games at a convention once a year. And as I’m prepping my games for this year’s convention, I’ve discovered a horrifying thing.

I didn’t take notes.

What’s worse, neither did my players.

And this in a game where a MAJOR event happened. No one can quite come up with the details on said event. Which means we’re going to have to rebuild some of it from scratch.

The same problem can emerge when you’re working on story ideas. You may think that you’re going to remember all of the clever things you’ve come up with, but will you remember them next week? Will you remember them in a month? Will you remember them if life intervenes and you have to put aside the project you’re working on for an entire year? The odds are slim to begin with, and they get more slim with every passing hour.

I take a lot of notes about ideas–mostly on my phone and in email, and sometimes in drafts of stories. And it’s come in very handy, when I can only recall one or two small bits about a story idea. I can search my email, look through the notes on my phone, or look in my old drafts folder for the version of the story with the notes in it. It’s not always the more organized method, but at least then I can put something aside and know I’ll be able to come back to it later!

In the meantime, I’ll be making up a new story on the major event from that last game.

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