Sunday, June 17, 2012

Index Cards Are My Friends

I've spent the last few days since my final work project ended playing with and shuffling index cards, and brightly colored index cards at that! (I had no idea plotting could be so much fun!)

Author and Writing Coach Cathy Yardley shared with me about her use of post-it notes, so decided adapt the idea to the unlined side of index cards due to my tired eyes and give it a try.

First I focused on the main plot points, using the Not-Really-An Outline method, then jotting down possible ideas for other scenes. Notice I say POSSIBLE. What is written on an index card is not chiseled in stone. These colorful cards can be edited, shuffled, written on on both sides, and/or tossed.

I wrote quick, few word descriptions, such as:

Index Card: Her family is missing.

Index Card: Water floods cave. Knows who's responsible.

Index Card: Finds grave in garden.

Index Card: Son has disappeared. Frantic.

I taped the index cards up on my cork board and whiteboards, or if I use reusable post-it type tape, I can tape them directly to the wall. (AND there are sticky index cards as well, but I like the color selection for regular index cards better.)

Like shifting pieces of a puzzle to see if they fit, the cards can easily be moved around and relocated. As in, this would be better if it happened here, rather than happening there.

Yellow for main plot points. Different characters stories (points of view) get their very own color (usually orange or green). If applicable, romantic scenes are written down on pink. (I'm using a fine-point black sharpie marker so that the notes are bold and readable.)

As you can see by the picture, my wall is bright and colorful (I used the Oxford Glow index cards, which are almost florescent in color.)

Today's Goals:

Today, I pick the next card in line for my story -- the next scene -- and write a few words (no more than a paragraph or two) about what I'm going to write about today, then I'll write at least a scene or two. (In the next few days, my goal is to see how many scenes I can comfortably and realistically write in a day.)

3 x 5 index cards. So simple. Makes me realize how overly complicated and difficult I've made things for myself all along.


imnotsuperwoman said...

Love it! Excellent idea!

Kathy said...

Thank you, imnotsuperwoman. I'm really enjoying experimenting with what works and doesn't work for me. This method is definitely a keeper!