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pat j
11-28-2017, 10:03 PM
I have found that I must organise and plan first, in order to be able to write at all.

Some people like to use computers for that, I find that 3x5 cards on a big table top
allow me to see the big picture at a glance and that is is easier to move cards around
to put related ideas close to each other. It is also easier to find holes and duplications that way.

As to the actual writing, once that I have the research done (or a world built for fiction) it is far
easier, faster, better, cheaper, to use a pc. With a keyboard I can get in the zone and words flow
from my brain to the screen far faster (and much more legibly!) than if I tried to do that part
writing by hand with a pen.

Myrealana
11-29-2017, 02:12 AM
I like my physical note cards. I've tried using virtual notes, but it's not the same. I love shuffling them around, filling in plot holes and using them as a visual representation of my pacing.

I tried using different colored cards for different character arcs, or sub-plots, but that got too complicated. I just fill out my outline on the cards, get them in order and then start writing.

It's the only process that has consistently worked for me.

Old Hack
11-30-2017, 09:21 PM
I use blank business cards and then slot them into plastic inserts which are designed to hold lots of business cards and then be put into a folder (I don't know what they're called). It makes it relatively easy to carry the outline around when I need to, and also to change it quickly when required. It's really satisfying.

Isilya
12-02-2017, 09:30 PM
I use blank business cards and then slot them into plastic inserts which are designed to hold lots of business cards and then be put into a folder (I don't know what they're called). It makes it relatively easy to carry the outline around when I need to, and also to change it quickly when required. It's really satisfying. I may have to try this.

Old Hack
12-03-2017, 12:39 PM
This is an Amazon link (https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B006OZTP4W/ref=ox_sc_sfl_title_6?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE)to show the plastic sleeves I use to hold my business cards. But you can get them at most stationery shops.

Snitchcat
12-03-2017, 04:00 PM
They're just called business card holders. :)

Snitchcat
12-03-2017, 04:01 PM
I tried the notecard method once. It was interesting, and worked for one novel, but hasn't worked before or since that novel. However, IME, each story requires different tools. My current WIP requires both analogue and digital methods -- analogue for working out scenes, but digital for plotting.

AW Admin
12-05-2017, 02:10 AM
I use blank business cards and then slot them into plastic inserts which are designed to hold lots of business cards and then be put into a folder (I don't know what they're called). It makes it relatively easy to carry the outline around when I need to, and also to change it quickly when required. It's really satisfying.

That's a great idea!

Dmbeucler
12-05-2017, 05:34 AM
I use colored note cards. One color for the emotional arc of the book (the last book I wrote had a big kinda romance/trust relationship thing centering it), one for the POV characters actions, one for the actions and reaction of the villain, one for the clues for the mystery etc. It worked well for me for that book.

Chase
12-12-2017, 11:33 PM
I buy 3X5 cards by the giant pack at the dollar store or anywhere on sale to scribble all over with a click-to-write gel pen. I carry cards in my pocket, possibles bag, glove box, etcetera and keep 'em handy beside my computer--a mix of old school and new tech.

I'm slowly learning to use a smarter-than-I-am phone, but so far cellular note-taking takes a backseat to my old standby 3X5s.

Analog is my usual way. My pocketwatch has minute and hour hands. I hunt with a single-shot rifle designed in 1978 and carry a revolver rather than a high-capacity handgun.

This is my computer:

https://s33.postimg.org/6sp19yxjz/computype.jpg

AW Admin
12-12-2017, 11:55 PM
One way to combine analog with digital via Smart phone is to take pictures of the cards.

Evernote can read most people's handwriting, which means it's easy to find a card later.

I too use index cards in 3 x 5 and 4 x 6 a lot.

VeryBigBeard
12-13-2017, 12:32 AM
This is a technique used a lot in tech, film, and digital story production. Helps a lot for writing games, because it becomes easier to track the branching narratives (traditionally, the note cards get connected by string on a corkboard; it's now mostly done with online collaborative tools like Stormboard or even Twine). That's how I came across this process, and it's helped me a few times.

One good way to sort the notes is to lay them out across a table, with scenes from beginning to end, which helps manage concurrent sub-plots and is also a good way to start to develop shot lists because you can use the cards to break down each locations, characters, wardrobe, and so on. Long and complex stories get unwieldy fairly quickly, but it's really good for group story sessions because everyone's around the table with some ownership in the process and making the story "tangible" helps make working with it less personal. I find it easier to detach from some idea I was treasuring when I can actually see it.

For game writing, the cards really help with scoping. If I end up with 20 cards (scenes, events, etc.) in one area, maybe I have too many. At which point I can arrange them in priority order so things get implemented as resources allow. Cards get used this way in project management, too, particularly in Scrum and kanban systems.

I'll confess that I don't love using cards for fiction. I have, when I'm stuck. And they've helped--I broke a pretty bad block on one WIP by using colour-coded sticky notes to group story beats around events because I was really struggling to follow the plot without seeing it. I'm not as much of a plotter as the OP, but I do find the visual cue comes in handy. The cards end up being a distraction, though, and I don't do them unless I really need to because it takes awhile and stops me writing. But that may be me. Some people definitely swear by this method.

Enlightened
01-07-2018, 03:36 AM
I rarely use analog technology for ideation. I use it to brainstorm detailed information, on occasion, build work schedules, or pose occasional questions. If anyone's interested, you can create the index cards and do layout on your computer desktop (if you use Windows Vista or later). Start, type sticky. Hit enter. Hit the plus (left side of the sticky note) to create a new note. I can fit, on my screen, 60 sticky notes without overlap (if they are 1.5 inches x 1.5 inches). You may need them bigger. Once your screen is filled, and notes, you can hit the PrtScn / SysRq button on the keyboard. After, paste in Microsoft Paint. It may be cheaper to do it this way, and be safer for long-term storage. It's portable too!

pattmayne
08-19-2019, 07:25 AM
Absolutely. They're just the right size for writing down a few ideas too, so I have stacks of them with notes and ideas on them.

You can fit your outlines across a few cork-boards, rearrange things... it's beautiful.

Digital will never cut it for me. I need to be surrounded by notes.