Thursday, April 15, 2010

Breakdown of Grids

Puppy Status: Sleeping, using my flip flop as a pillow. (He's so cute, he gets his own status.)

In my new puppy joy, I didn't explain what I did with the grids and post-its. I'm using them as a tool to aid my revision/edit of Ivory.

My poster boards are 20x30, as you can see I divided them into 12 rectangles, four across, three down. I made a 1 1/2 inch header for each box. I have six boards, which is 72 scenes. That's pretty short for a fantasy novel. It was a lot longer until I cut the fat. It will grow, I already know places that need more fleshing out. I'll make other boards as I need them.

I went through and wrote the chapter number and scene on post-its and labeled each box. I tried to use one color for each of the three main parts of my novel, but I didn't have enough of each color.

I followed Keli's method of using one post-it per square to identify the main character and the other characters in the scene. Each main character has their own color and I use it when it's their POV. (Even if more than one main character is in a scene at the same time.)

Another for the when and where, I'm switching between two colors because I know I don't have enough of one. I may end up organizing it even more. Brown for in the city, green for the woods,blue for the coast/underwater, etc. I'll probably do that shortly. Once an idea for better organizing gets in my head, it's next to impossible to get out.

Then I used the big one for the three questions. 1. Why is this happening? 2. Why is this scene included? 3. What devices are used?

I may nix the devices one and ask "complete mini story arc?" instead. I've noticed I have a hard time making scenes complete. I jump around too much with the intention of 'finishing it later'.

The poster board can get expensive, that's why I'm heavily using the post-its. Once I've written enough books to figure out my normal chapter to scene ratio, I may sharpie that in. For now, Post-its! They make the boards very reusable.

I am absolutely in love with this method, and I will most definitely be using it to outline my next project. (Which involves aliens and the Flying Spatula of Doom! Stay tuned. :D)

What is your opinion on post-its? Are they an essential office supply? Useless waste? I use the flags a lot for studying. I will admit, I bought the off-brand copycat version. The flags are just so pricey for what they are.

Have a great rest of the week everyone!


  1. I think this is a fantastic idea! Never done anything like it myself, but it seems like a really easy way to plot out your story and move things easily!!!

    And as far as Post-it's go, I buy the mini ones and use them to make notes and mark pages in the scrapbook magazine I subscribe to. That way, when I need inspiration, I can flip to the pages I already know I like instead of the entire magazine!

  2. Wow! Looks very organized and detailed...and colorful! :-)

    I love post-its, but I try to work as "paperlessly" as possible, so don't use as many anymore (I can't stop completely, because they're just so darn useful). I'll definitely be using the flags for marking up the draft for my next revision though...

    Have fun...

  3. Stephanie - You should give it a try! Those little flags are useful, aren't they?

    Jamie - Organized and detailed is my form of Valium :D. I try to counteract my love of paper by recycling everything I possibly can. Drives my husband nuts. ^_^