Joanna Cabot has been writing about Evernote and her newfound love of it recently, and I thought it was time to share my thoughts about the usefulness of Evernote as a tool for authors.

I love Evernote so much that I’m glad I wasn’t an author before it existed. What are some of the challenges for writers, and how does Evernote help solve them? I’m glad you asked!

1. Capturing ideas

Because Evernote is on all my devices, and my phone is always on my belt, I never have to worry about losing an idea. My husband has a “bad” habit of coming up with story seeds while we’re eating at a restaurant. No problem: I can whip out my phone and capture the ideas immediately. When people ask me how many books I plan for my Warlock Case Files series, I tell them I’ll stop “when my husband stops coming up with ideas.” I’ve got enough ideas right now to last through the next decade.

2. Location scouting

Have you ever been walking along and spotted a great location for a scene in a book? Or perhaps seen an unusual outfit, landmark or something else that just needs to be worked into a description? No problem. Snap the photo, store it in Evernote and tag it so you’ll be able to find it later. I was just browsing my notes and found a cool description I’d saved from a year ago of the sound an elevator made. (Off to add it to the current revision!)

3. Keeping track of characters

I’d like to say that all my characters are like my best friends, and that I can remember all their names and how to spell them. I’d be lying. As soon as I was halfway through the second book in my series, I had more characters than I could keep track of. Good thing I have a master character list in Evernote.

4. Keeping track of time

Ever read a book where the main character was running through an alley in the middle of the night, and then two pages later, it was noon? I keep a timeline for each book in Evernote. It’s especially important in the editing process, when deciding to add or move a scene. Having a master timeline gives some guidance.

5. Archive for research

Yes, even urban fantasy authors need to research. I’ve created a magic system with its roots in neopaganism, and even I forget what needs to go into a ritual or exactly what my warlock can (or can’t) do. Hopefully my notes keep me from making goofs that alert readers will point out in later books. One of my characters is loosely based on a minor historical figure, and I have all my research on him in Evernote.

Those are my main authorial uses for Evernote. Anyone else want to share how they use it? I can always use new ideas.


  1. I have been using it to keep all the quotes and clippings I highlight in books. I was using another app called Quotebook, but it was very slow with synccing and I could never be sure it was up to date. Evernote is quicker, and plus since I am already using it for other things, it centralizes everything so I don’t need an extra app.