Thursday, December 18, 2008

Ah, The Plot!

It happens to me in the fifth chapter. The proposal is polished, the synopsis done and I have to actually figure out the nuts and bolts of the book. I know my characters,though they will continue to reveal themselves to me as I write, and I have a vague idea where the book is going. After all, I wrote the synopsis right? This is where I run into trouble because basically, the synopsis is a two page book blurb. No nitty gritty. And I flounder. I have spent a month or more on the fifth chapter trying to figure things out. This go round, I don't have the time as my agent is ready and waiting for this one. So...

I have tried many different ways to plot out a book. Diana Peterfreund swears by the plotting board method with notes on each scene written out on sticky notes. I tried it and loved it... for a while. Then my book veered so far off what I had originally planned that I would have had to replace almost the entire last half of the board to keep it relevant. Then I tried the collage method. Jennifer Crusie swears by it and though I loved doing it (both computer collage and hard collage,) I still ran into chapter five plotting issues. I've tried keeping a hard copy notebook with all the information in it, but that didn't work either. Yesterday, one of my fabulous cp's mentioned that she worked on a mac and absolutely loved Scrivner. She spoke about it so glowingly, she almost made me, a PC, want a mac. Then I started thinking about what my friend told me about One Note, a program that came with my 2007 word program. I started playing around with it and OMG.

I'm in LOVE. I created a notebook just for Speed.It looks EXACTLY like a digital binder with each page having it own tab. I have a page for the synopsis and every chapter. I have a page for a point by point plot outline. I have one to track each character and their cars, that even contains a pix of their car! It automatically tracks the website the pix came from, and the file where I pasted each completed chapter. I took each point in my plot outline and pasted them in the chapter on where I think they will go. Each point will then become a scene. Today I am going to do a character treatment on each character. So instead of having a doc file containing a dozen different word docs, I will have all the pertinent info all in one very user friendly place. AT MY FINGER TIPS!

This gives me so much freedom, I can't even believe it. It makes plotting a JOY!

11 comments:

Annie said...

OneNote: the best thing since sliced bread

Sheri said...

That sound so cool! I think I have Word (don't laugh) 2000. I wonder what it would cost to download OneNote???

Of course I'm done with outlining and plotting at this point. Just trying to crunch out new pages. No matter how horribly written, they may be at this point.

Kerry Blaisdell said...

Sounds a lot like Google Notebook, except for looking like an actual binder. The thing I like about GN is it's web-based, so it's accessible anywhere with an internet connection (e.g., the library, while I'm waiting for the kids to finish their activities, etc.). I'll have to check out OneNote -- I think I have it on my Office software CD, but never installed it. :?)

PJ Hoover said...

Wow - I've never thought of using OneNote this way. I'm so glad it's working for you.

Amanda Ashby said...

Wow, Teri - your process sounds eerily like my own and nothing I have ever found has made the slightest bit of difference so I can TOTALLY understand your excitement on this (even if it is tinged with jealousy!!!!!!)

Now I'm going to see if I have OneNote or else check out Kerry's suggestion of Google Notebook.

Amanda Ashby said...

Oooh, I have OneNote as well. I'm off to play!!!!!!!

Gerb said...

Well, I'm a mac, but I do have word for mac... wonder if I have one note? Off to check it out. And Scrivner. And Google Notebook. Always looking for plotting strategies!

TJ Brown said...

Ohhh, Amanda, I hope you are having fun with it!

Gerb, I'm sure you have one or the other. Sciverner sounds a bit cooler, but I One note is working out well!
Teri

Keri Mikulski said...

Great idea. I'm going to try this.. :) My plotting is a bunch of random notes in a notebook. :)

Keri Mikulski said...

Happy Birthday!!! Capricorns rule!! :)

diana said...

I never use the plotting board to plot a book. Ever. It's a revision tool. I have no idea what plot arcs a given scene will touch until I write it.