Thursday, February 18, 2010

Plotting with Index Cards

How do you plot your stories. I came across something earlier today on ways to plot your story. Various index cards, each a different color that represent something or someone in within the story. For example: 

  • Pink: Characters
  • Blue: Inner Conflict
  • Yellow: Setting
  • White: Plot Problems
  • Orange: The Theme
  • Green: Various Dialogue
I have a similar system, just not colored cards. I use white cards, 4x6 to be exact (much larger work space to write), and use a colored highlighter, either pink, blue, green, orange, etc. to organize whats what. I write character names even if they're not currently in my WIP. I can possibly use them in other stories at some point and if not, they can inspire me with my current characters.

I write down dialogue that I think may fit somewhere. Maybe Maggie (one of my characters) might say something to her little brother like, "You poopy face. I hate you!" or "I'm telling Mom!". You know how kids are. But you get the idea. This has worked for me so far in my current WIP. I spent a few hows last night before bed writing up somethings on my cards and this morning reviewed them adding more to story. 

What's your system for plotting out your story?


Jeff King said...

I don't plot, plan, organize or anything like that when I write... the story comes to me during composition. I let the characters guide me; direct the story. I just write down what I see. Every time I try and control the story, it comes out choppy and weak.

I compose on the move; letting the action take me away... basically I live the story in my head.

But to each their own, use the writing process that works for you.

Devon Ellington said...

Because of my years working in the theatre, I work primarily from character. I know every detail about my characters -- but I can't write it down as character notes or the character stops speaking.

I often outline scenes in paragraph form, maybe with snippets of dialogue.

Outlines help me when I'm juggling multiple projects on deadline, but every once in awhile, I have to jump in without preparation and see where the characters lead.

Every piece is a bit like reinventing the wheel for me.

Joanne said...

I do outline, generally and then more specifically, to be sure the story pieces will all fit together the way they should. I also keep a separate journal for each writing project, writing in notes and thoughts as the project moves along.

Lisa Marie Miles said...

I open a document in One Note and throw every single idea I have into there. Then little by little I sort through it and put it where it belongs. I'll list each character's name and everything about them, plot ideas, dialogue, etc. I've done it with screenplays and novels and it works great for me!

Swimmer said...

That is brilliant I might just have to copy you!☺