I use several tools when I’m developing a story. There are two word documents I created. The first, I called Project Development sheet and one I call World Building Document. I have them pre-created in that there are headings and questions I need to answer. That’s it. The Project Development sheet is a simple list of items I need to do to complete a writing project. It has a section for doing the background tasks with appropriate headings. I mark that I have done them and move on to the next one. As for the World building document, I can usually see at a glance what I still need to do.
I use OneDrive to store the items in a folder with the working title of the piece. It’s where I store the notes and control documents I mentioned above. OneDrive is just one of many cloud storage services that are available. It’s convenient because I can access it from anywhere I happen to be. Being able to do that is crucial if an idea strikes when you are not by your computer. You can make a note anywhere and leave it on the clouds service and then, when you are at your computer, it’s there and not forgotten.
I can also open other documents from there, such as character charts. If I have my chart open with the questions showing on one side of my tablet’s screen, I can answer the questions. Then I do a good, in-depth, character sketch. I can also jot down notes using the memo app on my phone which lets me save to the cloud. Again, if an idea strikes, into the folder it goes. I can stay organized. All I need to do is have a notes document that I can put in the folder and gather my scattered notes and put in. I do that, by amending the document or just copying and pasting the text in there as I have the time.
On my computer, I use Scrivener to collect the various notes and documents together at the time I’m ready to start writing the piece. There are other writing software packages that you can use. I use scrivener, an app developed for writers. If you have an iPhone, there is a companion app that lets you work with the scrivener files. I have android, so I work with text files. It’s my process. Work with what you have I always say.
Having control documents helps to ensure that you don’t duplicate your efforts. I use Word for that because it’s convenient. Any word processing program will work. Gathering your world building notes into a single document is also good. It lets you work any way you wish and then, when you need the notes, there they are, all organized. Organization streamlines the process. At least it does for me. You might find a different process works better for you. I need that organization to stay on track. Believe me, it helps a lot. So stay safe and keep on writing.