Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Why I Finally Bought A Whiteboard and Large Sticky Notes

The lovely Kaye Dacus spoke about story boarding at our Music City Romance Writers meeting a few months ago. Among the cool props she used were large (6X4 inches, approximately) sticky notes and a white board. I was intrigued.

I'm not really a pantser, but I'm also not much of a planner. Let me explain. Once I have a story idea, the next thing I do is choose my hero and heroine. I make a big deal of out naming them, giving them a back story - everything from their favorite color to their most poignant childhood memory. Most of this will never make it into the story, but I feel as if I have to "know" them before I can write them.

Next comes GMC - Goal, Motivation and Conflict. The fabulous Deb Dixon taught me that, and her book is always near me when I write. But beyond that I just write. I guess you could call me a plantster. :)

Because of this, I've written myself into more corners than I care to count. Yes, it's cool when your characters reveal something you didn't know before, or that perfect plot twist comes to you in a flash as you're typing dialogue, but those moments are more rare for me than the corners and moments of now what the heck do I do?

But a white board... and those pretty-colored HUGE Post-It Notes... imagine what I could do with those?

Absolutely essential when one is planning a six book menage series that spans an entire century. Yep. You read that right. I'm so freaking excited about this project it isn't funny, but I also realized there is no flipping way I can "plants" something like this without getting thoroughly lost, changing character names halfway and not realizing I've done so, or screwing up key elements and time lines. I must have a PLAN.

What is it about stores like Office Max or Staples? I get this rush when I walk into one. All those folders, and markers, and labels and printer cartridges, lined up like candy bowls in an old-fashioned drug store. Even the smell makes me hot. I could walk in there with one thing in mind to buy, and I still have to look at everything. I have to touch the giant Post-It Notes and the bubble wrap. Hey, you never know when you'll find the perfect dividers for all those folders you never use anymore since you now store your records on your hard drive.

So... I bought a white board. Right now it has only a few key points on it. Soon it will contain color-coordinated large, LINED Post-It Notes, one color for each specific element in the series that needs to stay consistent. I also have white board markers and a dry eraser. SQUEEE!!!

Tell me how you like to organize your projects, and don't throw that Scrivener thingy at me. :)