Monday, August 27, 2012


Geesh, when did I get so analytical?

I'm a panster. I come up with an idea, then I dreamscape it out for weeks or months until I have the first half of the book completed in my head. Next, I start writing out scenes in my handy dandy notebook, which I later transcribed into the computer.

I work in linear fashion. Each chapter connected to the one before until I get stuck. When I get jammed, I write the end of the book. This helps to clear my block so I can connect the beginning of the story to the end.

So what happened when I checked out Write On Con? I found all these wonderful events like The Index Card and Revision by author Katy Longshore and Plotting with 3×5 cards by author Kimberley Griffiths Little.

I got totally inspired. I bought some post it notes and...

Well, the rest is history.

I broke each chapter down into scenes. Some chapters have more scenes than others even though they are roughly an equal number of pages.

I also color coded the scenes. Blue are paranormal activity, yellow are romance. Orange is everything else. The problem is that I need more colors to really break it down better. There are some scenes that have paranormal and romance. Others which are action scenes. I want something for conflict, etc.

Obviously, I've gotten a little sticky note crazy.

Still, there's something gratifying about having your entire book broken down for clarity; especially, in the revision process or even if you are a panster who hates to outline (like me) this is a good way to see what you have and what you've missed.

What do you think? Is this a process you would try?


  1. I'm a total pantser, too. I've never outlined. I get the idea, work the story around it, build the characters, know (pretty much) where it will go and how it will end, and then write, knowing I'll drift and have to cut away a lot of chaff later.

    That said, I just got the trial version of Scrivener for Windows, based on Jean Oram's raves, and I've been through the tutorial. Now I can't wait to try it out and start a new work just to use it. It has a whole system of organizing just like you did, with cards on a corkboard, and you can assign different colors, just like you did, and go back and forth between the cards and outline view. It looks great, takes word processing to a whole new level, just for writers. You can use it for 30 non-consecutive days for free to decide if you want to drop the $40 to buy it. I'm pretty sure I will.

    Kind of moving toward organized pantser. ;)

  2. Love WriteOnCon! They have such great stuff! I actually really like this and have been thinking of trying it out as I work through INSOMNIA's sequel. :) You need to let me know how it works for you.

    P.S. - Lucky break, I just bought a pack of 6 different colors of post its! I think it's kismet!

  3. Rick, I think this will work well for me if I do it as I write. That way I can keep myself organized as I go along.

    J.R., I had a blast at WriteOnCon. I only got through 12 chapters before I realized how much time it takes to do this after the book is completed.

  4. Rick, I'll have to check out Shrivner. I think keeping this process on the computer will work better for me, and I won't look like a crazy person with post it notes stuck to my closet door.

  5. Angie,
    I just started using Scrivener, it's an awesome organizational tool, I totally agree with Rick.
    I use to do exactly what you are doing until it became to overwhelming and sticky notes fall and my husband picks them up and trashes them.

    Scrivener was just what I was looking for..

  6. I love plotting, so I'm not a pantser at all, but I think this is a very interesting way of outlining (it could certainly help me better identify what genre my book is based on the sticky note colors that come up more often if I were to use it), so I share a link on twitter to this post. It may help a lot of people!

  7. Hi Paula, thanks for the info on Scrivener. I guess I will give it a try since everyone I have heard from so far says it is helpful.

  8. E.B., thanks for sharing the link. I hope it helps someone.

  9. My entire book is up on my office walls in index cards. I started doing it a couple of weeks ago, first by scenes. Then I had some rearranging to do so POVs evened out better. Then I put the scenes under chapter cards. The cards are color coded based on who the POV character is, and whether the scens is part of the main plot or a subplot(s) so I can see the nodes of conjuction better.

    For me, using this method helped primarily to make sure the POV flow went right. I use other types of outlines for the other stages of writing. The index cards tell me I'm near the end!

    Glad to hear WriteOnCon highlighted this. It's a lot of fun to do.


Now it's your turn. What do you think?

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