I'm sorry, i'm so stoked to have finished this for Moonshifted, along with the first draft, that I thought i'd share.
One of the problems I had with the ending of Nightshifted was that there were 8 separate things going on at the same time. I'd finish layering one in, and then i'd have to start back all over with another. Making them all simultaneously flow was really, really, hard.
I reallllly wanted to avoid that, this time through. But i didn't want to make anything less simple. I like layers. I like being challenged, as a reader and a writer. How could i get everything going all at once? The idea for the book board was born.
I know a ton of writers have their system that they do on their walls as well. I've seen a few :D. Plus, note cards, the file card system. I went with this one because where i live now i don't have any wall space, and also I really wanted things to be color coded. So maybe let me explain the picture, and then talk about stuff on it.
I started off with a science fair board, so it could stand on its own, and i could conceivably take it places with me. Each of the post-its represents a different location or character. And the four large pink ones I put up at the top to show how things go across -- act one is on the photo's left, then act two, act three, and then loose notes that might get worked in, or might not. The post-it notes go from top, across, then down, like pages.
Act one is the busiest, by far. I knew what i was doing in it, and you can see how everything overlaps. I'm most pleased when i've got a base large posty, and then two or three things on top of it, hopefully of different colors. I want my characters to be interacting, and what they do to matter to other people, on stage or off. The layers of posties = consequences and hopefully, depth. And doing it this way gave me some good tactile/visual stimulation. When i was writing off three big posties to get me to a consequence that i knew needed to happen, i thought, "This is not working." And then brainstormed on a way to get to what i want to happen shorter/better. The end of act two, you can see, is mostly yellows, reds, and oranges. It made me think to myself, "Well, what is happening in Green-land, and to Blue-character?" for that portion of the book. Haven't fixed it yet, but now i know at least i need to give a shout-out to those people/places, so that readers won't forget those layers/threads, either.
Act three, is the roughest, and so most of the posties are solo and have fewer words on them. (There's one that says "Battle!" which will be great fun to flesh out later. ;)) And you can see how things taper down at the end of it, like a little tornado, as the denouement slows down into the The End.
The jumbled board right hand is all things i like, but that aren't absolutely needed yet. I'm still hoping to wedge a lot of them in. But with this board all figured out, I can see where they might fit, all at once, better than i would if i were endlessly scanning up and down a word document that i hoped i had all of in my head.
Note that the board does not negate needing the Timeline spreadsheet, which I'm devoted to, seeing as last book's 1st thru 3rd draft i had vampire scenes HAPPENING IN THE DAYLIGHT. And also I have to keep track of moon phases, which is a bitch. I would very much like to avoid the "fix continuity errors" draft this time through, if i could. Or at least make it shorter/less painful.
I saw a comment on someone else's blog about their board and the book Save the Cat. I had my hubby get me that for Xmas, and it was really, really, good. While my board is not his board -- it's a screenwriting book -- the thought process is the same, and there's tons of good info in there. It doesn't break down story theory like other books, or witty dialogue or transitions, but it's a really good book for telling the best story possible. The best one i've read in a long while, for sure.
Anyhow. More neepage. I did get through about 7k of edits tonight, and am pleased with the result. It's bedtime now, and back again to work tomorrow.