The Notebook Hierarchy

One of the wonders of writing is how much you learn about yourself, and I've made a new discovery - although I'm now wondering what it says about my character (which perhaps isn't wise.)

I realised yesterday, as I searched for an almost lost idea amongst my ramshackle archives, that I have a hierarchy of notebooks.

Allow me to introduce you to Level One (and this is a tad embarrassing) -

hog notes.jpg

This is the notebook I take out when I fear there's a danger of losing it - like to a pub night, or to see a band, when it's all hubbub around. It's more of a quick scribble pad.

I can't bear the thought of losing an idea, so I have to take something to write on. But you do get the odd strange look when you whip out a yellow hedgehog notebook in the midst of a busy pub and begin scribbling.

(As to the hogs thing, it goes like this; one nested outside my room when I was at college and I've loved them ever since. There's a mention of my little spiky friends somewhere in each of the tvdetective books.)

Right, back to the point, and then comes the middle, or Level Two, notebook (a selection) -

middle notes.jpg

These come with me when there's no real danger of losing them, but I always want something on hand to jot down a quick thought. Ideas from the hog book get transferred to the middle level notebook and they're my standard source of help when I need a thought for a character, plot, setting etc. 

Are you following me so far? I'm not sure if I am...

Anyhow, finally comes the big boy notebooks, or Level Three, which have all the work on a book, a talk or a teaching session -

big notes.jpg

These are A4, and in my eight years of writing I've got through quite a few. They're full of scribbles and thoughts, mostly chaotic and random outpourings, which eventually get decanted down to make a book.

So, that's the way I work. And as to what it says about me...

Maybe that's the point to end this blog.

But first to mention this -

I often get asked for advice about writing. And one of the most important things I say is to always carry a notebook of some form.

For authors, aspiring or actual, the idea is everything - never waste one.