And write, I will.
But first, I have to tell you about the portable plotting organizer I put together the other day for my new WIP. It’s so simple, I can hardly stand it. It may very well keep me sane during my writing and revision process, and that, my friends, is HUGE in my book.
When I start a new project, I usually write a chapter or two, to see whether my muse is inspired to brainstorm. Next, I write the most basic of outlines and get to know my characters. Then, I plot away.
Plotting is hard work. It requires imagination, the ability to make the impossible believable, and incredible persistence, sometimes fortified with strong coffee or tea. I believe if a writer has a good system to organize plot, it makes writing so much easier. Or, at least it’s a productive way to unleash writer’s block angst, right? Can’t figure out what to write next? Bam! Take it out on the system and hash over your plot. Over the past few years, I’ve tried post-it notes, wall charts, computerized spreadsheets, and journals. And while they all work, they don’t quite click with me for one reason or another.
Then, I discovered the beauty of the index card. This may sound strange, but scenes became much easier for me to visualize and then capture the written word. Color coded 3″ X 5″ cards are cheap, easy to store and rearrange. I love how easy it is to throw away an index card or two if an idea is pure crap. No more scathing notes to myself (within reason) or huge X’s crossing out text…simply toss it out. Need to change a few scenes around? Just move the index cards, no problem. I love how there’s no organizational eyesores to clog up my brain with unnecessary noise. There’s no need to obsess about how I’m going to clean up my plotting, because I can’t read through all my scribbles. This clarity of focus helps me concentrate on writing, which is always a very good thing.
I recently came up with a new idea for a manuscript. It freaked me out since I’m still putting the finishing touches on PB, plus I have a few other manuscripts in the works. But, who am I to say, “No,” to my muse? So, I went to the store to pick up some index cards, and found this index card organizer.
It may not look very impressive, but I practically drooled over it. Colored index cards, holes already punched in, 2 loose leaf rings, and 2 tabs. All of a sudden, I had the urge to figure out the best way to use this, and soon discovered the D*I*Y Planner Hipster PDA Edition–free downloadable productivity forms that can be printed on index cards. This takes my plotting system to a whole new level of organization.
Inside the cover, I wrote a couple inspirational quotes by Epictetus:
“First say to yourself what you will be; and then do what you have to do.”
“If you wish to be a writer, write.”
Write-a-Scene Writing Prompt: Tighten up your plotting and write a scene after you spend a few minutes organizing your plot. It may seem like work but you will write closer to your story in a shorter period of time. Have fun!
- Personalized cover in black ink (see photo on right for print sample)– WIP title, name, Secret Project, etc. Or leave blank. You choose.
- Inside cover with 2 Epictetus quotes (see above photo #3). Or leave blank. Your choice.
- 2 loose leaf rings
- 2 red tabs
- 2 clear tabs (from clear organizer but you’ll understand why once you see how the sections are divided)
- white index cards with colored borders
- D*I*Y Hipster reference cards so you know where to find forms to personalize for your own system
- 1 Story Idea card
- 4 Project cards
- 5 Combined Action cards
- 3 Book Note cards – remember books used for research
- 3 Contact cards – people interviewed or agent info
- 9 Plot Point cards (3 green, 3 yellow, 3 red)
- 6 Character cards (2 green, 2 yellow, 2 red)
- 2 loose leaf rings
- white index cards
- in case you decide to combine these two organizers or add more index cards
If you’d like to enter for a chance to win this fantastic package, let’s play a little Mad Libs in the Comments below: Plotting is like ___________. The only way to _______ is _______________. OR, tell me about your plotting routine. Deadline is Tuesday, January 19th, 11pm EST. Comment away!