Oh dear, looks like my plot board is going to come in really handy in the next week or so. I need to axe a major thread in my latest story, so there will be lots of un-pinning and re-pinning.
Okay, here’s how the whole thing got started:
I often plan my story by writing the numbers 1 to 20 down a page and assigning an event to each number. It’s a rough way of working out a provisional timeline for any plot ideas I may have had. Normally the first seven or eight spaces fill up quickly, then I try and work out what the major turning points are going to be and put them roughly where I think they are going to occur. Then it’s a case of joining the dots, so to speak. What is going to take me from number 7 to number 10?
So my pink cards are my main plot points, the skeleton of the plot. So I have things like “Gaby arrives” on one and “The party” on another. Since my board isn’t long enough to put them in one column, I have two. There is space to scribble on the card If I feel the urge.
The wide, white strips are my character arcs. It helps me focus on who is feeling what when. I had them on my computer as a little block diagram, so I just printed it out, cut it up and pinned it on. The heroine’s are to the left of the pink cards and the hero’s are to the right.
My little blue cards are extra little details that have sprung to mind at a later date. It may be a plot idea e.g. “Gaby finds a video tape”, or character info “Luke is feeling jealous”, motivation and goals, or images I want to use. If I have a flash of inspiration while I’m working on another scene, I just scribble it on a scrap of card and pin it on the board, that way I don’t have to scour my notebook to find them later.
Yellow cards are to show I already have a bit of writing that will fit that point. It’s normally something I scribbled down when I was thinking ahead. It could be a sentence or two, or it could be a page or two.
The green cards round the edges are things I need to weave throughout the whole book, things that I can’t pin down to a particular scene but I need to keep reminding myself of. E.g. “build up reasons for Luke’s trust issues” or “Gaby’s relationship with her golden-boy brother”.
(Originally all my extra little cards were blue – the colour card I happened upon at the time, but after a while there were too many so I added another few colours in.)
It doesn’t sound very exciting when I write it down like this, but these little phrases are just to jog my memory. When I’m pondering over how the next scene should go, I might remember I need to add heroine POV about her family or to weave in some little details as I go that are going to make the story richer.
As I said, I’m road-testing this idea at the moment, so I will probably tweak it as I go, but it seems to help to have something to stare at and use as a visual memory bank.