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Look what @Sherrinda made me do!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

So, over on her blog, Sherrinda has been giving me a hard time about outlines and pre-planning (probably because I gave her a hard time when she was spending way too much time and energy on trying to perfect her outline instead of just writing, but I digress). As I mentioned in my comment on her post yesterday, I took the afternoon off from forcing myself to sit at the computer and trying to write when I didn’t know where I was going to do some brainstorming and come up with specific ideas for scenes coming up later in the book that I can write toward.

Yes, I sold The Art of Romance off of a synopsis . . . but it’s a very general, two-page synopsis that gives the gist of the main conflict of the story but no real plot/conflict specifics. So that’s why I’ve been foundering on this book that’s now going to be at least a week late if not more. But this is what I spent the afternoon and part of the evening (if you consider from about 6 p.m. to about 2 a.m. afternoon/evening) doing:

[If you noticed, yes, it’s different than my other storyboard images I’ve posted before—that’s because the wall in my office I used to use for this is now covered with a couple of larger-than-poster sized images of the covers of the Ransome books, so this is actually in my living room.]

I find myself more productive in writing sitting in the living room with the laptop. The problem with this is that the wall where I have all of these scene cards and notes hanging is behind me. So I took the scene cards I wrote out for the next several chapters and used the Windows Sticky Notes program to make another scene-card board:

on my laptop’s desktop. Now all I have to do when I forget where a chapter is going, or when I get ready to start the next one is just switch over to that program and enlarge the note, and there’s all the info! (And yes, it’s rather chilly and gray in Nashville this afternoon.)

(Now, if I could just get the actual writing done, that would be fantastic!)

37 Comments
  1. Tuesday, October 19, 2010 5:28 pm

    I love the Sticky Notes in Windows 7! What an awesome idea for them.

    Like

    • Tuesday, October 19, 2010 6:21 pm

      The only thing I don’t like about it is that the program takes up room on the task bar at the bottom of the screen, but I can learn to live with that. Older versions of the program put one block for each note on the taskbar.

      I wish it had more color options, too. But, it works for what I need right now.

      Like

      • Sylvia M. permalink
        Tuesday, October 19, 2010 11:32 pm

        Yay for Windows 7 sticky notes! I love them. I have Windows 7 and if you right click on the sticky note icon on your taskbar you can click the unpin sticky note option. It should show back up in your program list.

        Like

        • Tuesday, October 19, 2010 11:56 pm

          Oh, I don’t have it pinned to the taskbar. I just don’t like it cluttering up the taskbar when I actually have the sticky notes up on the screen—because I always have multiple windows/programs open, so it can get hard to find things when there are too many open program buttons showing.

          Like

  2. Tuesday, October 19, 2010 5:35 pm

    It’s really very pretty . . . ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Like

    • Tuesday, October 19, 2010 6:22 pm

      And that Post-it Note easel pad is one of the best investments I ever made!

      Like

  3. Tuesday, October 19, 2010 6:06 pm

    Aaaak! I saw my name and immediately started sweating! lol I think it is so cool that you had to stop and do some brainstorming to keep going. ๐Ÿ™‚ Now would you have done that had you not been on such a close deadline?

    And I love the Sticky Notes! Is that something you can download? (I have Vista)

    Also…another question…when you do your chapters, do you always have two POV’s per chapter?

    I love the way you write and prepare to write. It just resonates with me and “clicks”. When is your writing book coming out? Hhhmmmm?????

    Now, you better get back to writing!

    Like

    • Tuesday, October 19, 2010 6:15 pm

      You can see if Vista has Sticky Notes by going to the Start button, and typing Sticky Notes into the search box.

      No matter how detailed my synopsis is, when I start writing, I usually get to a point where I get lost (usually between 30,000 to 40,000 words—but in this book, it happened around 9,000 words, mainly because I didn’t have a detailed synopsis). That’s when I stop, make the scene cards for the chapters I’ve already written and then pull out the synopsis and write scene cards for what I’ve already plotted/planned. Again, for this book, that just wasn’t there. So this process became even more important.

      And, as you can see from the color-coded notes, I do typically have the two POV scenes per chapter. But there are some chapters that are only a single POV (note chapters five, eight, and thirteen), and there are some that have more than two POV scenes (so far, only Chapter 6 in this book, and it’s only two characters—but in Ransome’s Quest I used three POVs per chapter quite a few times).

      In a romance novel, I don’t like going very long without getting the viewpoint of the heroine and the hero, so that’s why I tend to do the two viewpoints per chapter.

      Like

      • Tuesday, October 19, 2010 7:29 pm

        Alas, I searched, and no Stickies for me. But what a great idea! It’s perfect for keeping your “map” right before your very eyes! I do believe my next purchase will be a stack of bright colored sticky notes!

        One thing I love is that you printed out hard copies of your character photos to keep them fresh in your mind. See, that never crossed my mind. I should print mine and frame them….make them real!

        Like

        • Tuesday, October 19, 2010 7:48 pm

          Yes, I printed the pictures . . . and I glued them to sticky notes to hang on the wall!

          Like

    • Tuesday, October 19, 2010 6:18 pm

      Oh, and I should add, using the color-coded Post-it Notes is helpful in making sure I’m not getting stuck in a pattern with the POV scenes—so that it’s not always his POV first, followed by her POV. That can get too boring and predictable. So seeing the POVs represented visually helps me figure out whose viewpoint each chapter should start in.

      Like

  4. Tuesday, October 19, 2010 6:15 pm

    Someday I’ll be as computer saavy as you, Kaye.
    Wow. I learn something EVERY time I visit.
    And why did you go and use Sherrinda’s name in your title. You know she thinks she’s a celebrity now.
    Sigh. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Like

    • Tuesday, October 19, 2010 6:23 pm

      It was the only way I could think of to make sure I got her attention. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Like

      • Tuesday, October 19, 2010 7:32 pm

        Oh yeah, you got my attention all right!

        And Pepper, what’s not to love about a “celebrity complex”? *SNICKER* Right, I’m soooo not a limelight person, but how cool to see Sherrinda really big on somebody else’s blog instead of mine! lol

        I wonder how Sherrinda will look on a book cover someday….

        Like

  5. Tuesday, October 19, 2010 6:29 pm

    LOL. You got it!!
    See, if you ever used my name in a title, people would think you were listing a recipe. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Did you say that the Sticky Note program is a part of Word? or an additional program?
    I’m in love with OneNote after reading Sherrinda’s post that your blog inspired.
    I LOVE it!!!
    It’s an amazing visual organizer.

    I can’t use walls in my house for plotting because little hands made scenes disappear.
    But the computer screen? Wow, now that’s a different story

    Like

    • Tuesday, October 19, 2010 6:36 pm

      It’s part of Windows. Click on the Start button, then type Sticky Notes into the search box. If you have it, it should come up.

      Like

  6. Tuesday, October 19, 2010 6:50 pm

    Oh, wow, this is great. Thanks for showing us. You know I’m such a plotting nerd…and I love all this visual stuff. I was actually writing about storyboarding on The Writer’s Alley today (hence my harassment of you). I’m almost 50-50 right-left brained and I think this visual method ties them both together.

    Like

    • Tuesday, October 19, 2010 7:29 pm

      And keep harassing me about it—I’d love to do a guest blog about it (just need to get finished with this book first!).

      Like

  7. Tuesday, October 19, 2010 7:07 pm

    I’m telling you Kaye this has helped me more than you know! Although I can’t use my walls because of my family has to share space, I still use the tri-fold poster board and it works great! I do have a question or two. Your color coding are the different POVs, but do you color code for other things? What do you use the Post It Note Easel Pad for?

    Like

    • Tuesday, October 19, 2010 7:34 pm

      I do have an additional color for unknown POV. Other notes and ideas are written on different sizes/colors (typically whatever I happen to have at hand when I think of it—thus all the smaller blue notes). Some people do this and use colors for goals, motivations, and conflicts, or for different subplots/story threads. I’m not quite that analytical. My story comes from my characters, so for me, it’s enough to follow what my characters are thinking/doing.

      I use the easel pad for brainstorming ideas or, as you can see in the bottom right corner of the picture, for outlining (there using the seven story beats from Billy Mernit’s Writing the Romantic Comedy—which I explain in detail in the Writing the Romance series on the Writing Series Index page). I’ve also used it to keep track of the crews of the different ships in the Ransome series, as well as draw a map of Bonneterre from the first contemporary series so I wouldn’t lose track of where I was placing things in my fictional town. I love the Post-it easel pads because, as indicated by the name, once I pull the sheet off, I can easily stick it to the wall and continue on with the next page, just like a regular Post-it pad.

      Like

      • Tuesday, October 19, 2010 7:54 pm

        I have STICKIES!!!!!
        I’m so tickled. Now to play with them for ten minutes. Just ten.
        Then it’s back to writing.

        Like

  8. Tuesday, October 19, 2010 7:49 pm

    Thanks, I look forward to it! And hope everything goes well with your deadline!

    Like

  9. Tuesday, October 19, 2010 7:59 pm

    Love how you used the post it notes. I go between different colored index cards for characters and also am slowing getting everything into OneNote which I am coming to love. I’ll have to check out the Sticky Notes because I think it would be more visual like the index cards and I can take it with me when I move the laptop to a different room or outside.

    Like

    • Tuesday, October 19, 2010 11:16 pm

      I love One Note because it’s so easy to make sure I have the same information on both computers, so it’s easy to work either on the desktop or the laptop, as I’ve set all of my One Note notebooks up with the choice to use them on multiple computers (and I have a homegroup network with my wireless internet at home).

      But there’s just something more . . . well, primal is the only word that’s coming to mind. There’s something more primal about using the Post-it notes, hand written, on the wall than trying to do the storyboarding on the computer. Plus, it gets me out of my chair and on my feet and moving around to create it, look at it, read it, change it, etc. And out of the chair/on my feet/moving around is a good thing!

      Like

  10. Tuesday, October 19, 2010 11:13 pm

    Y’all may not have seen it, because it was on an older post, but Gail mentioned the tri-fold poster board she’s using for her storyboard. These are typically used for science fair displays or other school projects. They’re relatively inexpensive and very portable (you can move it from room to room, if you’re using a laptop), easy to store (take it out only when you’re working on your story and then put it away so little fingers don’t add even more conflict to your plot), and reusable (just take the old Post-its off and start over again):

    http://www.staples.com/Staples-White-Foam-Display-Board/product_607283

    Like

    • Sylvia M. permalink
      Tuesday, October 19, 2010 11:39 pm

      Straight pins are always good for tacking things up to those boards. (They’re also good for hanging pictures on the walls without leaving a nail hole.)

      Like

  11. Wednesday, October 20, 2010 12:02 am

    Here’s a shot I captured with the webcam on my laptop (it was research related to writing, don’t worry!) that shows the actual location of the storyboarding wall in relation to where I’m sitting with the laptop:

    Like

    • Wednesday, October 20, 2010 6:49 am

      Kaye is thinking, “Zarah and Bobby finally have a happy ending in Love Remains. Will my new book have the same story line to accomplish the goal of happy ending? Nah, I have a new story every time I put my pen to paper thanks to God. Keep the readers guessing, but always, always always, with a happy ending.” ๐Ÿ™‚ Ha!

      Like

  12. Wednesday, October 20, 2010 9:27 am

    I love to see how you work. Great ideas!

    Like

  13. Traci Myers permalink
    Wednesday, October 20, 2010 10:25 am

    I have to admit that this is the book that I am most excited about. I love the synopsis! and I bet you are going to do a great job getting it done. I can see how having an outline and completed ideas would be important as my whole book could change drastically with a bad mood day, lol. Have fun and we are all waiting patiently to see where God leads you with your story.

    Like

    • Wednesday, October 20, 2010 4:59 pm

      Well, right now God’s leading me into a place in the story that just led me to Tweet:

      “Uh-oh. I’m totally beginning to sense readers are going to want a spinoff series featuring Dylan’s three brothers.”

      Like

      • Wednesday, October 20, 2010 5:05 pm

        Ooo-la-la! Give me a family of big strapping boys, and I smell romance! Yeah, you’d think I’d smell dirty socks, but no…not me! Bring it on, Kaye!

        Like

      • Sylvia M. permalink
        Wednesday, October 20, 2010 8:49 pm

        Dylan has…uhm…THREE…brothers? Wonderful! (Clears throat)….Jenn Guidry anyone? Hint…hint.

        Does this mean the other TN series will be on hold or would you go ahead and do that one first? Have your publishers decided to go ahead with that series?

        Like

        • Sylvia M. permalink
          Wednesday, October 20, 2010 8:53 pm

          Has anyone seen Seven Brides for Seven Brothers? Sherrinda, I just thought of that when I read your comment about dirty socks and big strapping boys! Oh, no. Now “Bless your beautiful hide. Prepare to be my bride” is going through my head.

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        • Wednesday, October 20, 2010 9:06 pm

          Unfortunately, Jenn is too old for these boys—they’re all only in their early to mid-twenties, so to be a hero of one of my books, they’ve all got some growing up to do.

          I haven’t finished writing the proposal for the series set in the fictional tourist town in Tennessee, but that is still the next one I’m proposing, since I already know what the story ideas are and have a detailed synopsis for the first one written and half of a detailed synopsis for the second one written. But you never know when I might revisit some of these other characters in the future.

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        • Thursday, October 21, 2010 5:29 am

          Oh, I LOVE Seven Brides for Seven Brothers! What a fun movie! And yes, you gotta love a house full of testosterone, full of muscles, stink, and a whole lot of wrestling! I do believe I need to watch that movie again soon!

          Like

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