I’ve launched into my new outline technique, and so far, I think it’s working. It’s organized, it’s intentional, and it’s productive. I have a place to write down anything I think of throughout the day, and I’m not afraid it’s going to get lost or misplaced somewhere in my computer. I’m sure I’m not the first person to write notes on index cards and use them as a visual means of organizing a yet-to-be-written plotline. Still, I didn’t consciously steal the idea from anywhere else, so for now, I’m calling it my own.
I’m organizing my notes as I write them, with a card heading (character name, plot point, literary device) in the top right corner. Even when I don’t do a good job of this, there’s only so much information on each card, so I can reorder them easily and as often as I’d like. I punched a hole in each of a hundred index cards and connected them with a metal ring, so I can take this baby anywhere with me. Fun, too, that it’s about the size of a mass market novel!
I like that I can see any combination of bits of information without scrolling up and down and CTRL + F searching random documents for my scattered notes. I’m also not grabbing a machine every time I want to make a note, which makes it easier to do around little ones fascinated by electronics.
Because I’m not outlining in front of a computer, I’m also not tempted to skip this whole step and get right to writing, which didn’t work out as well as I would have liked last time.
I’ve always been one for retro pastimes (in high school, you could find me sewing hippie pants with a friend, a cup of tea by my side, on a Friday night), so perhaps this new approach is more natural for me than it seemed on first glance. Whatever decade I’m in, I’m just glad to have found a technique that is letting my creative juices flow.