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What is a good tool for organizing story notes?

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I'm working on a fantasy series and have been keeping a Word document full of backstory, character/location information, and other world-building elements. At 160+ pages, it's reached the point where it is difficult to search for a topic if I want to go back and edit it. Even with a plethora of subheadings, it's become a bit unwieldy to scroll through dozens of pages to find the subject I'm looking for.

This is why I'm looking for a better tool than Word. Something more like a personal wiki that breaks things up into separate pages would be nice.

Features I'm looking for:

  • Has to be able to link internally
  • Easy to edit pages/entries (don't want to be looking at html and css code)
  • Easy to change font styles/sizes/colours (I'm looking at you TiddlyWiki)
  • Free
  • Compatible with Mac OS X

Also, it would ideally work offline. This isn't strictly necessary, but since I'm the only person who's going to be looking at this thing, it doesn't need to be online. In this respect, Wikidpad seemed like a good option... until I tried to install it for Mac and realized I had no clue how to do so :S

PS I'm aware that you can link internally in MS Word, but the process (at least in Word 2008 for Mac) is a pain in the ass and it still doesn't solve the problem of having one gigantic document.

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This post was sourced from https://writers.stackexchange.com/q/10412. It is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

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2 answers

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I've just been using Google Keep to keep notes from my beta readers.

Google Keep has the advantage of being available from my phone and on the web. As I get feedback from beta readers, either in person or in email, I put the data into a single document.

You can also tag documents so as to create groups of notes per project.

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This post was sourced from https://writers.stackexchange.com/a/32752. It is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

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Allow me to introduce you to Scrivener.

Scrivener is a word processor which allows you to create unlimited documents within a single project, and see all your documents in a nice document tree in a side pane. You can create folders and subfolders, drag items around from here to there, link documents within the project, tag documents for easy searching, and even display your documents as note cards on a cork board.

Scrivener exports as Word and text, so you're not stuck in a proprietary format, and it has a full-screen environment if you need to cut out distractions.

$45 and made for Mac OSX. You can test it full-featured for 30 days.

You can search for other discussions of Scrivener on this SE, including a lot of cheerleading from me. :)

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