The other day, the other Mischiefers were discussing which writing programs they use. Not word processing programs but the sort of programs and apps that help you keep track of your work. I don't know...Scrivener? Things like that? Programs that will help you keep track of character traits and plot points and settings, things of that nature. My eyes glazed over. Sometimes I feel like I'm the only author out there who doesn't use these high-tech fiction assistants.
But I don't. I'm not really a luddite by nature. I like cool tech. It's more through necessity and being frugal much of the time (and poor much of the rest.) The newest gadget, the newest software, the next best iMonstrosity - I don't even try to keep up, because I can't. And I've never found it necessary, even now when everyone is connected all the time. Somehow I've survived.
I haven't actually written prose longhand in years, but I still keep notebooks. Paper and pen serve as my character, plot and logline software, my lexicons and so on. When I start a new story, the scribbled notes still go on physical paper. For shorter stories, this is often just character sketches, premise and a couple of questions. For more complex stories, the notes can go on for a bit, include diagrams and crude drawings and can get just a tad messy.
Granted, this process used to be a good deal messier. I wrote notes on any scrap of paper handy when notebooks weren't available. The loose notes and research from my Anchorage novels are all gathered in one three-ring binder along with rejection letters. Yes, I kept all of those too.
This is the floor plan of Heersford Asylum from Semper Fae that I needed desperately while writing the asylum scenes:
But I've done this before now, and I know better what I need. The most current notebook looks a little more like this. Though don't hold me to anything on that page. They are, after all, just notes...