Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Notes on 'Notes'

clip art courtesy of pixabay.com
"I make a note, set it aside, and hope it makes sense when the time comes to look at it again."--Donald E. Westlake

How many ways can you spell N-O-T-E?

Well, let's see...

Post-it notes. One of the best inventions ever (which by-the-way were invented by accident--story can be found here). I use them around the house for various reminders and in books to make note of a passage I want to return to. Note cards--as in 3x5 cards, like the ones I carry in my pocket on walks to catch fleeting ideas before they float away. Then there are musical notes and love notestoo, both of which "play" special parts in our lives.

People compare notes. We take note. We take notes. We (especially writers) keep notebooks. Of those, I have too many to count: notebooks for journaling, for ideas, for rough drafts, for writing prompts, for critique group meetings. The list could go on. There's also the Author's Note, found typically at the end of historical books. This is something I particularly enjoy as it's an opportunity for the author to share background information she couldn't necessarily include in the narrative or to give the reader insight into the inspiration that led her to the story. Example, from Kirby Larson's Newbery Honor Book, Hattie Big Sky: "When I heard that my great-grandmother Hattie Inez Brooks Wright had homesteaded in eastern Montana by herself as a young woman, I found it hard to believe." What a story to explore! Authors also use their concluding afterword to explain what was fact and what was fiction as Lois Lowry noted in her Newbery Medal book, Number the Stars: "How much of Annemarie's story is true? I know I will be asked that. Let me try to tell you, here, where fact ends and fiction begins."

There are items that are particularly noteworthy. And then there is the personal note. Today I add a personal note of my own, one I share with a smile because it tickled me and made my day. I received my Summer 2015 SCBWI Bulletin in the mail. Opening it up, I found--surprise!--that my article, "Birds, Bricks, and Story Helps" was published in it. Boy, did I ever note that.

Which, it would seem, should prompt a thank-you note.

Have any notes of note come your way lately? Or a notable "note" word you might want to add?


  1. Congratulations on your story publication! That's awesome.

    There are so many ways to use notes. I didn't know that author's adding notes at the end of historical books was a thing but now that you say it, I remember a note at the end of a book by an author/blogger friend. :)

  2. Thanks, Kimberly :-) And I was surprised, when I started brainstorming the word 'note', at the number of ways we can use it. It was a fun word game!

  3. Congratulations on your publication! I will have to read it. My note keeping methods evolve. My newest fun way is KanBan app on my IPad, which seems to work better for To Do lists than anything I've ever tried. For keeping track of scenes chronologically in novels, Aeon Timeline is excellent.

  4. I hadn't given much thought to how many "notes" there are, other than the many post its on my desk at the moment. :) Congrats on the article! That is exciting. I am sure it is wonderful!

  5. I absolutely loved this post! I relate to so many of these "notes". BTW, Kirby Larson is one of my favorite authors. I so love Hattie Big Sky. Congratulations on the publication of "Birds, Bricks, and Story Helps".

  6. Congratulations on your article - great news!

    I have a general notebook for notes (of course) but also have small ones by the bed, in my purse, in my car, etc. And I have a habit of writing around the edges of the TV listing guide that comes in the newspaper. At the end of the week, I remove the cover and take it to my office. When I need an idea, I look through the pile. Sometimes I find something worthwhile.

  7. Congrats on finding they used your story! That is really noteworthy for sure!

  8. Thanks to all! Appreciate the congrats, and enjoyed reading insights into how 'notes' work for you, too. Wishing you all a good weekend...

  9. Just wanted to share that I attended a workshop on revising this past weekend. The presenter talked about a range of revision techniques. MANY of them relied on sticky notes!

  10. Ah, another plug for notes! Thanks, Peggy. The workshop sounds neat. Did you pick up any new tips or was it pretty much review? No matter, it's always a great time when you get together with writers, right?