I bought another pack of index cards. I’m at this point in my story where I’m chucking what doesn’t work (after 11k words, trust me when I say: it could be worse). I’ve got to keep what works (mostly the characters) and dig deep and find the goals and the antagonist(s) and the conflict.
(Why do I forget these things when I first start writing? It’s like I have to play with my characters for a bit before I can rip them apart and say, “You’re not quite right.”)
So, I’m in the grocery store and there’s this pack of index cards. A big stack, probably a 100. And they’re unlined… *sigh* (The lined ones restrict my process, somehow).
Next thing I know, despite the fact that the last time I tried using index cards to plot it was a colossal failure, I bought index cards. Again.
I get so caught up in how well it works for authors like Roz Morris (who convinced me to do it last time with her very good book, Nail Your Novel
, and she’s just so passionate and convincing) and Johanna Harness (who I’ve linked to before about her use of magic index cards). They make it sound so fun, and creative, and organic. But, that’s where it doesn’t work for me.
I think I crave the structure that goes with them. Being able to make sense out of something huge and messy. As first drafts tend to be.
I write down everything floating in my head, and really, that’s a lot. But it’s not a whole novel. And, so, I have my index cards, which amounted to about 20 for the first act, 8 for the second act, and 2 for the fourth act (I write with a 4 act structure) the last time I tried. Nothing for act three. The middle. Which, you might’ve heard, has been known to sag. Be boring. Or be full of crazy, not-organic stuff, that a writer just makes up to fill her damn index cards.
I need what happens next to come from the choices and actions my characters take before. And I just don’t know how to do that with index cards. It doesn’t work that way, for me.
Does anyone need any index cards?