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Old 09-21-2017, 07:18 AM   #16
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MarjaE, It seems you are a bit unsteered as to how to write what you want to write.

1) Start with a general outline: Ie. what is the topic I want to write about. (This should get explained in the preamble, but in a way that will trigger the reader to read more. Get the reader curious.)

2) proceed to make a sequence of stuff you want to cover in your book. The sequence is not set in stone, but it should give you guidance as how to proceed.

Now you've got the framework.

3) Start separate folders on your computer for all those points, and keep a separate folder for sources and related material that have yet to be processed by you.

4) Start sorting your sources on "hardness". (This is where most researchers go wrong and muck things up, but that is a different subject)

5) Proceed to read ALL your sources, in their entirety, from front to back.

During this, it is a good idea to buy some colored tabs like those in the example below, and stick them to every page you need to revisit. On those pages, I like to make cut-in-half brackets with a pencil, so I can immediately see the reason why I tabbed that page. Of course you're free to use your own system.
https://scontent-sea1-1.cdninstagram...NjI1MA%3D%3D.2

7) Dictated sources should be worked out in print as soon as possible. The reason behind this is that if you wait a couple of days, the information/thoughts you had during the dictation will be gone from your short-term memory.
A dictation should only be used as a temporary grip to hold yourself until you have time to put it unto paper.

I'm not a big fan of text-to-speech, because by writing the dictation yourself, you transfer the knowledge to your own brain.

Research is only as good as the knowledge of the researcher itself.

8) Now, you put the researched stuff into your folders and from there you add them to your book. Like a puzzle, it will slowly become something.

And a final note:
It doesn't matter how much you write on a given day. After a while, you'll notice that the writing itself will constitute to less than 1% of the actual work, and reading sources is the other 99%.

Don't be scared to delete writing and start over. Hell, my best received papers and articles were a nightmare to work on! Knowing that you just spend three 18-hour days on a 1000 words, that are absolutely unworkable in the end, can be demotivating and frustrating to say the least, but are an unavoidable stepping stone to greatness.

Last edited by Dutchbook; 09-21-2017 at 07:18 AM. Reason: typo's
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Old 09-21-2017, 09:51 AM   #17
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Scrivener 3 is just around the corner and will be released before the end of 2017, so perhaps you'd be willing to give it a go again, when it comes out. Quite a few writers swear to Scrivener and how it organizes things, as is apparent in this thread.
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Old 09-21-2017, 08:14 PM   #18
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Scrivener 3 is just around the corner and will be released before the end of 2017, so perhaps you'd be willing to give it a go again, when it comes out. Quite a few writers swear to Scrivener and how it organizes things, as is apparent in this thread.

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Old 09-22-2017, 02:31 AM   #19
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Thank you.

I already have an extensive outline.

Part of the problem is to decide whether to work one section at a time, re-checking each appropriate source for the section, or one source at a time, adding to each relevant section.
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Old 09-28-2017, 07:30 AM   #20
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I realise you're using a Mac, and I'm not sure if this is available for Apple devices, but OneNote is great for holding research, notes, and any other information, files, etc you need. I think Evernote does much the same thing.

Good luck with the thesis or whatever it is you're writing.

As to the order of proceeding; which feels most comfortable and logical?

Way back, I had to write a short thesis for my BA, which was in literature. I did all the research, making notes along the way, and all the necessary reading before writing up my arguments and conclusions. It seemed that I wouldn't know what I was writing about until I'd done the research.
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Old 09-28-2017, 08:26 PM   #21
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I realise you're using a Mac, and I'm not sure if this is available for Apple devices, but OneNote is great for holding research, notes, and any other information, files, etc you need. I think Evernote does much the same thing.

Good luck with the thesis or whatever it is you're writing.

As to the order of proceeding; which feels most comfortable and logical?

Way back, I had to write a short thesis for my BA, which was in literature. I did all the research, making notes along the way, and all the necessary reading before writing up my arguments and conclusions. It seemed that I wouldn't know what I was writing about until I'd done the research.
I'm not using the current version of Microsoft Office, but I do have OneNote with it for my MacBook Pro. I've never actually used OneNote, since Scrivener is such a fine program for outlining and for its index cards.
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Old 09-29-2017, 12:11 PM   #22
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OneNote can contain everything: background information, audio recording, whole web pages and files. Scrivener is great for outlining but I can never be bothered to fill in the Synopsis cards, prefering to make notes in the Document Notes area of the Inspector - notes about things which need to be done to the scene etc.

If we're talking fiction, I've fallen in love with a new program called The Novel Factory. I've found this really useful for guiding the structure of a book. While using the trial (which is only seven days) I took one of the chapters from my WIP and worked it using the program; the "chapter" could now stand as the basis for a novel in itself and will need to be considerably pared down to slot into the original WIP.

Different software tends to be great at different things. I still like Word for basic outlining (using the Outline View).
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Old 09-29-2017, 12:27 PM   #23
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OneNote can contain everything: background information, audio recording, whole web pages and files. Scrivener is great for outlining but I can never be bothered to fill in the Synopsis cards, prefering to make notes in the Document Notes area of the Inspector - notes about things which need to be done to the scene etc.

If we're talking fiction, I've fallen in love with a new program called The Novel Factory. I've found this really useful for guiding the structure of a book. While using the trial (which is only seven days) I took one of the chapters from my WIP and worked it using the program; the "chapter" could now stand as the basis for a novel in itself and will need to be considerably pared down to slot into the original WIP.

Different software tends to be great at different things. I still like Word for basic outlining (using the Outline View).

I'll look at The Novel Factory. I'm a nerd for novel-writing programs because they fascinate me.

Thank you!


---- Looks like it's not available for the Mac.

Last edited by Dr. Drib; 09-29-2017 at 12:29 PM.
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Old 09-29-2017, 12:38 PM   #24
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This series of videos (there are eight of them) illustrate how the software works.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAIdqeOo4Xs
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Old 09-29-2017, 04:50 PM   #25
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I did some of the research years ago, and some more recently. A few times I've mis-remembered what the sources said. More often I've simply not remembered which sources covered which facts. A few times I've mis-remembered what my notes covered, and searched through my notes before having to go back to my sources.
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Old 09-30-2017, 09:38 AM   #26
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Stick it all up on the web and you can Google it!

(Just in case it isn't obvious: I am joking.)
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Old 10-01-2017, 02:58 PM   #27
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I realize that the original question was about OS software, but I do feel compelled to point out that good old Word, whether Win or Mac, has a perfectly nice and usable Outline View, that is woefully misunderstood or unused. Word is the "Mac Daddy" of Outline View. I'm always amused by people that get infuriated with me, spewing "But you can DRAG AND DROP in Scrivener!," when I turn around and point out that you've been able to do that in Outline View in Word for the last decade and a half, if not longer. Hell, I do think it's longer.

I've tried pretty much every "writing program" out there, from the much-loved Scrivener (meh, not for me. I see why some people love it, but I don't put much value into prettifying things), LiquidStoryBinder (the one that makes me the most annoyed, of all of them), StoryBlocks, BB6, PowerStructure, and you know...the writing software that works for you, is the one that works for you. It's the one that will keep you writing, instead of dinking around with writing software.

One of the things that always torqued my ass with LSBXE is that after buying it, trying it, I realized that its entire appeal was that it invested all its power into looking foofy, and doing things like giving you places to save images, and music (to set the mood, right?), and all of that did nothing to increase actual productivity--it just made people feel like they were "real" writers, with a screen that LOOKED impressively busy.

Logical people will always gravitate toward pared-down tools that just work. Right-brainers like prettier stuff (yes, these are generalizations, but, in thousands of authors through my shop, my informal polls about what computers they use versus what they write, etc., this seems to be true). Myself, I like either Word, for initial outlining, or, I love YWriter for doing heavier-duty outlining stuff, to set up scenes and chapters, (and timelines). Now, as you're doing research-heavy non-fic, that might not work for you.

BUT, if the question was, "outline view," I have to say, Word has that and it functions quite well. You seem to have that--or perhaps I'm misreading what you said.


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Old 10-01-2017, 07:42 PM   #28
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@Hitch, I couldn't agree more about people not understanding (or using properly) Word's features. Years ago, I was using it (with carefully prepared templates) successfully to desktop publish beautiful stuff that had previously been done (badly and taking an eon in time) in Ventura Publisher and/or Pages. Word (even Word 2.0!) was and is spectacular for end user publishing...in the right hands.

I would take issue, however, with Scrivener "prettifying" - I would argue that its purpose is just the opposite. It is not a Word processor and trying to make it one just makes god kill kittens (although, I think 3.0 may've surrendered to the masses of people who don't read the instructions on the tin). Please everyone - think of the kittens!

But I digress.

@MarjaE's issue (and forgive me MarjaE if I've got the wrong end of the stick), seems to me to be that instead of starting with a method, MarjaE (and, indeed we Mobilereaders) is/are starting with a solution (e.g. software).

As someone who dealt with programmers for the last 20 years (and research scientists for 15 years before that), I saw this all the time. When you're an expert with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

So, I would suggest that one needs to step back and figure out what needs to be done. e.g. (obviously simplified):
  • I need to have research sources easily searchable (by subject)
  • I need to have my work/notes searchable (by subject)
etc...

Once you've got this straightened out, you've basically got your requirements and then you can look to which solution and method suits them - and you - best.

If it were me (using Scrivener, for instance - but only for an example), I would create a single project and whack all the sources into Research, with each source getting its own "index card" (maybe name of publication/author as the title, and the details in the body of the card...whatever).
Then I would create a new project for the actual publication/paper and as required, drag a copy of the appropriate references for that particular subject/work into its Research folder.
Of course, if it's one honking big research paper, then I'd use the project with all the sources.

Whatever you use, I think you've got to get everything under some kind of control and this (speaking from experience) sometimes feels like it'll take longer than the actual book/paper/thing you're working on. It's a daunting task, but like cleaning out the garage, it's oh-so-worth it when you're done.

Over the years (too many years) I've worked with people who have used, successfully:
  • Word (I would create a specific directory for all the documents & notes and have them all in one place - makes searching so much easier)
  • One Note (my colleague used my "one honking big file" theory but with ON). Everything went in it.
  • DevonThink (not my cuppa but some swear by it). I would've added Circus Ponies Notebook but that's apparently gone...poof.
  • Scrivener (and every other novel writing solution in the universe)

Good luck and I feel your pain.
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Old 10-01-2017, 11:04 PM   #29
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skb:

I actually agree with you about needing to know the question, before you search for the answer.

WRT Scrivener...{shrug}. To me, much of what people seem to like (like card view), I guess I just don't "get." I can do what's done in card view, pretty much, in YWriter, or in OneNote or Evernote, etc.

In Evernote, as it happens, you can create a massive outline of interlinked notes. Use one as your "outline," and then create the research links that you discussed, above, and link those to the main outline. For research, that would be quite good, and I've used it that way.

You can do something similar in OneNote. You can use the "linked notes" feature, with Word and OneNote, which is uber-handy, again, if you are doing soemthing very detailed and research-heavy. In many ways, using these two together--to me, and apparently, me alone--gives you Scrivener, pretty much, and like you suggested, I'd put images, files, etc., in a single Dropbox or other Directory. Perhaps a OneDrive Directory, and really link it all together.

As I stated, what works for you is what works for you. Some people swear by Scrivener, some by PowerBlocks, some by whats-is-name's BB6, etc. I'm sort of old-skool with Word and OneNote, myself, because I'll use it. I've got pretty much EVERY piece of "writing software" made (some for research, some for the biz, some just 'cuz), and they're all designed to suit different types of folks. (I don't know anything about DevonThink; I won't buy Mac-only programs, even for the Mac in my office. I'm a cross-platform girl, myself.)

I do think that if @MarjaE can quantify her problem, then the solution should present itself, I'd think.

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Old 10-02-2017, 12:10 AM   #30
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Totally agree about Word etc. It's whatever you feel comfortable with. You could even use Excel quite nicely (for sources especially), I reckon (and just export as CSV). And yes, OneNote. My colleague was an evangelist for it but I couldn't get my head around it.

I get you re cross platform too. I nearly had a meltdown in my early mac years. I just couldn't believe what wasn't available for the mac. I've still got a win laptop but I'm almost exclusively mac these days (the laptop is for Access which doesn't mac).

I do have an Evernote pro account but I discovered that I had to email the notes etc to myself. That was a step too far for me. Whatever I use has to be able to available if I'm offline. But yes, it could totally do the index card thing.

The problem is...too much choice.
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