Watch the video of my OneNote Presentation for GSRWA.
Follow along with the Book and Series Bibles Powerpoint Presentation
PDF Printable Version: MSOneNote2013
I like to think of myself as an organized person. I’m also a relatively efficient person so I’m always looking for ways to get the most amount of work done in the least amount of time. For years, I’ve tried different organizational methods to keep track of manuscript details, such as character descriptions, plotting, GMC, and research information. Originally, I kept three-ring binders. It was a hassle to print everything for inclusion in this binder, especially when I was constantly adding or editing pieces.
Later I stored this information in various documents in folders on my computer. Every time I needed to check a secondary character’s hair color or a plot point in my book, I’d have to find the file and open it. I’d often have five or six documents open on my laptop at a time. Switching between them became confusing and annoying.
Then I stumbled upon Microsoft One Note. It took about five minutes for me to realize OneNote was the answer to my organizational frustrations, and I’m about to show you why.
First of all, you’ll need a copy of OneNote. OneNote is available via the cloud, as in a web version on the internet, and free off the Microsoft site. All you need is a Hotmail, MSN, Outlook.com, or Windows Live account. You can download it onto your Mac or PC from this link:
If you have a tablet or smartphone, you can obtain a copy from the app store on your device.
This cheat sheet primarily uses screen shots and instructions from Office 2013. If you are using a different version, your OneNote might look slightly different.
Creating a New Notebook Using the Office Version of OneNote
In OneNote you can create multiple notebooks. In the screen shot on the left, all my notebooks are listed on the left, including a series notebook for my Seattle Lumberjacks series, an author notebook for promo info, etc., and various notebooks for each book written or in progress.
I’d suggest one notebook per manuscript. These notebooks are shareable. I’ll be using samples of the OneNote notebook I created for my football romance, Backfield in Motion.
My Author Stuff notebook includes tabs for new release tasks, reviewer lists, blogger lists, basic author info such as a bio, etc.
Each notebook can have multiple tabs. I created the same tabs I would have used in a three-ring binder. I have tabs for plotting, motivation, backstory, characters, etc.
To create a new tab, click on the plus sign to the right of the last tab. Type the name for the tab and press Enter.
You can also create Section Groups, which is a group of related tabs. I created a group called Football for my research information on football. In my Football section group, I added tabs for my football research and information on the team I created (Seattle Lumberjacks).
To create a Section Group, right-click on an existing tab and choose Create Section Group.
Within each tab, you can have multiple pages. One of the advantages of OneNote is that you can put anything on your pages, absolutely anything. You can move your items around and draw on the pages. Pages are not limited to an 8.5×11 page size. A page can be as big as you want it to be. My character page includes pictures, text, tables, web links, etc. In the following example, I have character charts, setting, backstory, and GMC pages.
To add a page, click on the Add Page button on the left, but make sure you’re in the tab in which you want to add a page.
To title your page, type the title in the block above the date (see below), and press Enter. Whatever you type in that title area will also show up as the title on the Page list on the right.
To add content to your page, you can type anywhere on a page to make different blocks of information or multiple columns. Your pages can include: Excel spreadsheets, Word documents, links to webpages and documents, copies of emails, pictures, sound and video, etc. The list is endless. On my character chart page, I have a table and photos.
OneNote saves instantly, so you have no worries about losing data. As soon as an item is on the page, it’s saved.
Another feature I find useful is the Tag feature. You can add a tag anywhere on a page. There are dozens of tags. The ones I found most useful are the To-Do tags, link tags, idea tags, question tags, critical tags, important tags.
As mentioned earlier, OneNote is available via the cloud, as in a web version on the internet. All you need is a Hotmail, MSN, Outlook.com, or Windows Live account.
Creating a New Notebook Using the Web (Online) Version:
To access the OneNote web application, open your Hotmail, Outlook.com, or MSN email account (you may need to convert it to a Windows Live account) or create one.
Click on Create and choose OneNote Notebook.
Follow the prompts to name your notebook, etc.
The web version of OneNote is slightly different from the PC version. As you can see, the tabs are on the side and don’t look like tabs in a notebook. Most of the features are available, and OneNote Web is free. Even better, it can be easily shared with others if you’re working on a collaborative project with other authors, such as linked novellas with shared characters.
I hope I’ve given you some ideas on how you might use OneNote to organize your book information. Give it a try. You won’t be disappointed.
OneNote Training is offered for free by Microsoft: