sticky-boarding, part 2

So, I’ve been working on my sticky-boarding method to work out the overall structure and time frame for my novel.

The big display board identifies each chapter, with highlights from two to three scenes jotted down for each one. You know: herrings, emotional revelations, intro to players, etc. The next level is my scene.

For that, I use a smaller foam board that measures approx 2′x3′, and is easier for me to cart around from seat to seat, depending on which darkened room offers the most inspiration on that particular day. I select a 3″square post-it pad for each of my main characters, and a few others for the secondaries that appear throughout the novel (I line the top and sides of my scene board with stickies identifying each of them so I don’t confuse the colors).

Once that’s done, I’m ready to get to work. Rather than plotting out all the scenes at once (which I’ve done in the past, but it’s not working with this one), I’ve been getting one or two scenes ironed out first before sitting down at the computer to write out the scene’s first draft. I jot down phrases, lines of dialog, or even emotions on the stickies assigned to that character, and then add them to the board as they should occur in the scene itself.

It proven to be a bit like Phase Drafting, only just one scene at a time and on notes instead of in a word processor. Something about the physical act of separating my ideas or the MRUs (motivation-reaction units) with colors and pieces of paper helps me keep the various strings separate in my mind.

The picture above (note to self: must snap a better one w/ our digital camera, as my iPhone just isn’t cutting it!) is of a scene mapped out just before I sat down to write it. So far, it’s working out to be 150-200 words per sticky once I fill in the holes.

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