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Thursday, January 19, 2006

Cat-Saving with the Moleskine

Where to begin?

Okay, first, what (some of you may be asking) is a Moleskine?

I mentioned it here (and Cynthia told me about the storyboard version in comments). Digger27 found me and linked to me because I wrote about Moleskines, and has more about them on his site. But hey, there are Moleskine sites all over the net. My fave is ninthwavedesigns -- check out the art. Makes me feel almost guilty for filling mine with illegible scrawls and post-its.

Which brings me to the subject at hand!

I figured out a way to use the storyboard version here, and there was more discussion of refinements in comments....

And the idea of having a "real" board at home and the moleskine with me is the one that I like best.

And so, here is the revelation, the epiphany, if you will.

I always have ideas in my head. I've got stories that have been in my head for years, with certain details, certain elements. Not fully fleshed out by any means, but a few elements that intrigue. Perhaps a plot twist that pleases me. All waiting for the day when I decide "this one is next" and pick them up and run with them.

And what I figured out is, with two "cards" per page (Post-its, in this case) there is room for four sets.

So what the Moleskine is for me right now is a brainstormer. I have one particular idea that is on the front burner, but I also have room for those others that are simmering, so I can sprinkle in some spice or add a little extra salt if the mood strikes or a brainstorm hits. Instead of keeping it in my head, I have a system to actually -- wait for it -- WRITE STUFF DOWN.

I'll give you a moment.

Okay, recovered? Good.

I have two sets in there for the two projects that are on my plate right now. I'm colorcoding, using different colors for each story for the majority of the cards, and the important beats in a contrasting color. If I can jot a few words down in the part of the plot where I think it will occur, and move the Post-it as needed.

In case you're wondering, the main reason why index cards (or in my case here, Post-its) are better than just writing stuff down in text format on a page or computer screen is because of that flow. Because if you write a list of things that might happen, or worse, excessive notes on what might happen, as soon as it hits the page in a certain order your brain tries to keep it in that order. You suddenly have a story, whether it's the best one or not.

Using cards, it's painless to say, "What if she kills him in chapter one instead of chapter twelve?" And shuffle the cards and look at all the new possibilities. The visual and tactical aspect are liberating.

Plus, it's all highly portable. Have an idea, a phrase, a line of dialogue, a gesture that you want to remember later? Jot it on a card (or Post-it) and keep going.

Right now I'm using yellow Post-its to mark the two different story sets, but will use the little post-it tags when I, um, find my little Post-it tags. They're around here somewhere, I know they are, damn it.

With this story set, I'm using pink Post-its, and blue for the major beats. On this you see the opening -- Opening image/scene in blue, then Scene, Scene, then the Catalyst scene, again in blue. Then several pages of pink until you get to the first turning point, etc.

So maybe it's not earthshattering, but I really like this use of the Moleskine.

And just in case you need it: (Save the Cat )


At 5:41 PM, Blogger Cynthia said...

Check out this plotting board --

That is scary than those hads

At 8:00 AM, Blogger pooks said...

Toni sent me that link! Actually, I think it would blend well with the Snyder board -- four rows of ten, then use colored post-its to track whatever needs to be tracked in that particular script, whether it's subplots, clues, character movements. I've heard of using colored stick pins to represent such things, as well.


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