What the hell is it with all these note cards?

Not that long ago, I confided in a friend that I was stuck in my story. It wasn’t so much that I didn’t know what was supposed to happen, it was more a matter of how to order events or introduce more events to bridge the gap between two things. Her suggestion was to use note-cards like a story board. So, I went through and wrote down the basic subject of each chapter, sometimes splitting up the chapters according to action that could possibly be separated. Then, I wrote down action I wanted to add, and started sorting those note cards. It was a breakthrough for me. I could suddenly see how to organize things and plot a course to the end of this story.

Like anyone else, I’ve got piles of notes stashed in places all about the house. Three-ringed binders, stacks of papers, spiral notebooks and so on… Everywhere. Plus, I’ve got all of my digital notes. However, these didn’t help for the storyboard. I did try to map my story out, it just didn’t work on a static page. Even in a digital file, it didn’t work. I think this has a lot to do with all of the extra detail you can scribble on a note-card, including characters, setting elements, or information that needs to be revealed in that scene. Plus, if a chapter doesn’t seem to fit or work, I can just remove it from the story board and set it aside – perhaps it might belong elsewhere.

Since that helped me better understand my plot, I figured why not apply that to other stuff. Now I also have a stack of note-cards with basic details about each character and place. This way, when I’m writing about a character I can just quickly refer to the cards instead of trying to remember where in the digital notes I might have put that stuff, or sift back through earlier chapters. So, that’s what’s with the note cards, and it’s working very well, thank you.