A Writer's Toolkit
by Rudy RuckerUseful information for writers with a work-in-progress. I especially liked his idea of working side-by-side with a "notes" document:
It�s useful on most projects, particularly longer ones, to work with two documents: the Book.doc that you�re writing and a Book Notes.doc. Of course "Book" is replaced by some version of the title of the story, article, or book you�re working on. In the case of a short story you might not bother with two separate documents and might just keep the notes at the end of the story document.
The point of the distinction is that you accumulate a lot of written material that won�t be directly in your book, and the notes document is a good place to keep it. A less obvious reason for doing this is that some days, or at some times of day, you won�t feel inspired or energetic enough to work on your book or story. At times like this, it�s often comfortable to work on the notes document instead. The notes are just for you, and you don�t have to worry too much about what you put in there.
Many writers will maintain a third document with a name like Journal.doc, this is where they write things that don�t relate to the writing project at all, possibly copying a few bits back and forth between Journal.doc and Book Notes.doc.
You might sometimes think of your notes document like this. You�re a magpie putting together a nest. You pick up shiny things in your beak and carry them home. The Notes document is the ledge where you accumulate your goodies for weaving into your Book nest.
Break your Notes up into sections by formatting a title line of each section differently, maybe even using several kinds of heading formats.