Monday, January 2, 2017

A Writer's Tools: The Cork Board



I love index cards. They're the key to my plotting, the tools I use to conceive, arrange, and rearrange scenes. I describe how I do this in my writing workshops and in my writing books, most notably WRITING WITH QUIET HANDS.

But some of you complain that you live/work/write in small spaces, and so you use Scrivener, which features a digital version of index cards that allows you to do the same thing electronically. (Some of you prefer doing everything digitally, and to you I say, good for you, you digital natives you.) But if you love the feel of cards in your hands, and the sound of the magic marker scraping against the paper as you write, and the flash of creative lightning that strikes when you flip and shuffle and place those cards, then try my solution to the small space problem.

I converted two closet doors to corkboards. Well, I personally didn’t do it, I sweet-talked my love Michael into doing it for me. But it was my idea, for what’s that worth. (See photo.) Michael tells me that it was pretty easy, but if you are as mechanically disinclined as I am, I trust you can use your writer’s powers of persuasion to convince someone handy to do the same for you.

My doors have four sections, which allow me to assign each quarter its own purpose: one for fun, one for plotting, one for inspiration, and one for whatever pleases me at any given time. These corkboard doors are located at the edge of my living/working/writing space on the way to the kitchen, so every time I pass by for a cup of coffee I get a shot of creative energy that spurs me on to the next scene of my work in progress. I often stop to play around with the plotting cards, especially when I’ve come to a knot in my plot. Right now, I’m reworking a major storyline thread in my mystery at the request of my editor, and the plotting board is a critical part of that process.

So if you’re short on space and long on plot, try creating a corkboard of your own. You won’t regret it. And be sure to send me a photo…happy plotting!


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