As I’ve said, I’m writing a new book outside the romance genre and, as it’s historical fiction, I need to research settings, characters, and facts. Most importantly, it’s imperative I be able to get to these notes quickly.
My quest for a repository started after I found any word processing software to be unwieldy, as a means for collecting the various notes I’ll need to reference during the writing. What I need is an electronic notebook able to collect both text and graphics, as well as web addresses, and be able to find what I need with a minimum of fuss.
A few years ago, I ran across KeyNote, a wonderful little program by Tranglos. Unfortunately, it’s no longer being maintained. Spinning off of that, I found another likely program, RightNote by BauerApps. This was an almost winner and I considered it for a while. However, after some heavy Googling, I found Aml Pages. (Both standard versions of RightNote and Aml Pages sell for approximately $29, although RightNote does have a free version.)
What all of the above software have in common is a tree-structured format on the left and your notes on the right.
Aml Pages (Evaluation Copy)
With Aml Pages, I can capture images, screenshots, tables and, as you can see in the figure above, full web pages. Grabbing anything from a browser is as easy as selecting what you want and dragging it to a small Aml Assist Bar, a translucent icon I have stuck at the top right of my screen. The program also has a robust editor where I can type my notes about personalities, characteristics and most anything else I can imagine.
My current WIP visits Burma, Germany and the United States, from the late 1700s to the present day and, when I get done, I’ll have enough characters where I need to keep accurate records of them.
I started with Aml Pages, by creating a folder in the tree structure for Cast. Under here, I created folders for each of the characters I have in the first section. My next folder, Magok Valley, which you can see in the captured Wikipedia page above, is where I’ll keep all my references about this region, especially those areas and people in the late eighteenth century.
Not only is it important to keep these notes and references for myself, but I’ll need to refer to them when a publisher or editor challenges me.
I can’t go into the complete set of features here, but there are many more than I’ll need and more than sufficient to easily capture my references as I go.
I must have downloaded and tried a dozen software programs similar to Aml Pages, but I kept coming back because of its feature set and ease of use.