Like all writers, I've got a hard drive full of puzzle pieces - notes, photos, quotes, character sketches, plot points, calendars and so forth.
Referencing them is a chore - but what day did that even happen? And what was that character's motivation again??
A few days ago I saw a post on 'The Passive Voice' blogs about a program for writers called Scrivener. It is a converted Mac program - which will tell you that it is heavy on the visuals.
Literature and Latte.com is the home of this curious creature - a combination database and word processor that will 'print' a document to e-Pub or PDF OR it will keep all your research in a single file.
For example: The Dark Harbor Series
I have photos of the Harbor, the Iroquois, Mother of Sorrows Church scattered on my hard drive. I also have notes on haunted places in Ashtabula - Chestnut Grove cemetery and the Great Train Disaster. I've got sites saved, somewhere on my messy Favorites or Bookmarks in 3 different browsers.
Scrivener allows me to paste ALL that information under 'Research' which has a cute little cork board where all this stuff is visible at a glance.
I've only had this marvelous toy for a few days. Long enough to spend a couple hours sorting the Dark Harbor series notes into something I can actually GET when I want it.
What if I had the cover art, advertising blurbs, author bio of all my books on a cork board where I could see it, cut it and paste it? Wouldn't that make it easier than clicking through folders, thinking 'where DID I put that?'
Even if it proves to be too unwieldy for finishing up a novel, a cork board is a great place to store ideas, darlings, web addresses and photos.
Oh, yeah the cork board becomes an outline as soon as you click a different button, and I can move scenes around by drag and drop. I can also label chapters 'first draft,' 'revised draft,' or 'final draft' so I can see what needs work and what is farther along.
All this and a bag of chips - for the reasonable price of $40.
I'm in love!