Time spent organizing a project before you sit down to write is always time well spent. Here are some ideas to incorporate into your writing routine:
1) Organize the chapters of your novel into individual sections in a notebook and keep it on your desktop, so it is always within easy reach. Add chapter relevant research and notes to the notebook as you are writing your first draft. This also works very easily if you use the writing software, Scrivener. I find Scrivener’s Project Notes so handy for this type of story miscellaneous.
2) Chart your chapters, tracking the scenes in each chapter. This makes a quick and handy reference when you need to remember what chapter a scene is in. I love that I can do this in Scrivener by just glancing over at the outline of scenes in the Binder section.
3) List all the characters, cities and places in your story, with a brief description of each. It works as a quick reference as to the hair/eye color of a character, as well as the spelling of a name when you are tired and can’t remember if a secondary character is Alaster or Alistar. Again, because I use Scrivener, I use the Project notes and keep one titled “Characters”. Or go old school and tack this and your scene chart up near your computer for quick reference.
I probably should have just titled this post, My LOVE of Scrivener and How It Saves My Writing Ass. You can find more about Scrivener at Literature & Latte.