Tuesday, August 19, 2008


You know, I was thinking of this yesterday when I wrote that bit about using the 3x5 cards to aid in synopsis writing.  The cards are great to use for plotting a book, too.  And it doesn't have to be the cards, it can be sticky notes, or whatever.  The nice thing about having each event on a separate piece of paper is that you can move things around, change the pacing, see how scenes will work before you actually start writing an outline or writing the story.

I've been writing without much plot work lately, but being able to move scenes around and see things from a broad perspective like this allows me to stay on track or to visual something that I might be having a problem with.  Some writers use sticky notes, dry erase boards or cards.  Whatever works for you.  I like using the cards and then setting them out on the floor.  And sometimes I make up cards after writing the rough draft, so I can see what's happened overall and check pacing, subplots, etc.  

And using this method is really great for book proposals, when you have your partial but you need a finished synopsis to show your agent or editor how the book will progress and end. 


LeeAnn Flowers said...

That would be so much more effective than my current method of word soup, then days of going back and trying to squeeze bits in between 'scenes'. Of course, with four cats, I'm not too sure cards would work, since they like laying on whatever I'm working on. Sticky notes, though, might work. I love sticky notes! :D

Anonymous said...

Sticky notes are genius, Lima Bean! When I write research papers I usually tear up a paper, write important sentences or paragraphs that go with certain research. Then end up with piles of books and articles with torn papers on top all over in a physical map of the order they should come in (visual learner...). But at some point the cat usually walks across everything and messes up my papers. Sticky notes--the future of research! :)

Michelle Miles said...

I commented yesterday I thought the cards would be good for plotting but I've never actually DONE it. That's about the only thing I haven't tried so maybe I should! I'm a Pantser by nature :)

K. said...

LeeAnn & Becky: What is it about our cats? They seems to have some kind of anti-work radar -- whenever you've got something spread across the floor, kitchen table, or desk, they're there enforcing the no-work rule.

Michelle -- I know, I'm mostly a pantser, too. This method can be really good, after the fact. I used them after finishing a rough draft, just to check pacing, and found that I had a few "slower" scenes grouped together. I was able to move things around and the pacing turned out much better.