Sunday, September 14, 2008

Class Update

So, I hit the first lesson in the Think Sideways class that I think will be one that just won't work for me. It's about calculating how many scenes there are in your novel, and then writing up an index card for each (or only for some, depending on how detailed you want to get). Of the varying forms of outlining available, it appears I have been working for years with what she terms an editor's outline. Interesting. I guess I won't have any trouble writing one when the time comes! I've never found such a form restricting at all, and, as my novel shifts and changes, I've always simply changed the editor outline accordingly. I've never felt constrained to follow what I first put down. But I like the format of an editor's outline. It's the easiest method of simply telling myself the story I want to write.

Index card usage (as a story creation tool) leaves me absolutely lost, though I gave it a try anyway but it took me twice as long, and if the cards got out of order (which is supposed to be half the freedom here -- you can shuffle easily), I just got incredibly frustrated. I also have issues with needing to see as much material at one time as possible, so to me, the cards end up being the limiting method.


However, taking my own outline and using the Sentence treatment on each scene? Now that's useful! I'll just be doing that technique in a Word doc rather than on cards.


  1. Holly really likes index cards. She's talked about them in some of her other articles and e-books. I've given them a try, but writing down every single scene is annoying. I used index cards to plot a novel once, but it sucked all joy out of the story for me. Almost a year later, and I have no interest in going back to a story that once kept me up late, spinning subplots. Sad. :(

  2. Yeah, although she's very clear that while she needs to write every scene down, we can note just a few major scenes for reference if that works better for us. My problem is less noting all the scenes down, as the format she uses. I can't deal with the scattering, incohesive sense the index cards give me.

    And your poor plotted but lost story! Maybe you'll be able to come back to it someday.

  3. Yeah, I was always paranoid that I'd lose a card, or that they'd get out of order, and the story would fall apart. The index cards never gave me a sense of ownership of the story, like scrawling illegible notes to myself do. :D

    Someday, my lost story will return. It's probably enjoying a pina colada on a tropical beach even as I type. :)