So, this might sound like I’m going to tell you some really obvious things, but some of these tips are really worth following, because, trust me, I’ve been there! I’ve gone mad researching and written loads of notes or snippets of useful information thinking I’d remember where it was from because it was sooo useful and then…I can’t!
So, here are my top 3 tips on how to make useful notes when researching for your novel!
Now, I know research should be fun and you don’t want to feel like you’re at school, but it’s vitally important you write down the book title, author, and page no. of your source. So many times I’ve assumed I’ll remember and then I don’t and it takes me ages to find out where that information was from. And all the while you’re wasting time back-tracking, you’re not writing!
Is the note you made for a character’s backstory, for dialogue, for setting or atmosphere? Make a note when you’re writing so you don’t look back and become clueless as to why you thought it was so important.
You may find while researching that one source is much better than another. My advice is to cross through anything that is no longer required. That way you won’t end up with conflicting or outdated information. Another sneaky tip is not to annihilate it so you can’t read it anymore because one day you might need to and you don’t want to have to start trying to find or decipher it again!