Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I Heart Index Cards

by KATE FALL on MAY 23, 2010

I buy index cards in all different colors. Staples loves me. I’m their preferred customer. (They gave me a tag and everything.)

I know I should be a sophisticated, 21st century writer, but there’s something about revision notes on index cards that I can’t let go.

Right now, there are two purple index cards on my desk. One never leaves my desk. On one side, I write notes on my hook, the short blurb for my book. (I have two sentences so far.) The other side has a list of things to plant in earlier chapters when I revise, the things I’m discovering about my book as I write it: time of year, a special childhood memory of my main character, etc.

The second index card is labeled “Ch 1 crit suggestions.” I went through my fellow MiG Writers’ critiques of my first chapter and compiled a list of 19 revision points that resonated with me. (Yeah, nineteen. Well, the first chapter is the hardest, I hope.)

Armed with both index cards in front of me, I just finished revising chapter one, and I love, love, love the changes I made!

Another great thing about index cards is I carry them in my purse for jotting down ideas wherever I may be. So until I get that iPad (dream on, Kate) it’s index cards for me.

– Kate

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Christina 05.24.10 at 6:11 am

What a great suggestion! I’m going to do this! Thanks for sharing.

Danielle 05.24.10 at 10:10 pm

Notecards are AWESOME, it was a habit I picked up from screenwriters and one to which I was addicted until about five months ago, when I fell in love with program called SuperNoteCard. It allows you to layout notecards on your (computer)desktop but, unlike physical ones, you can write as much as you want on each one. I use one for each scene and place and replace them as I add scenes or change my structure. I have a ‘bits and pieces’ deck (you can have as many decks as you like for each project) into which I place scenes which I’ve removed but may find a place for later.
The BEST part is, you can write your whole novel in scenes and then just print or export the whole thing in a single file. All the functionality of notecards without the re-typing!

And for notecarding on the go, they recently added a web-based function so you can add cards (or decks) from any computer or hand-held device that can browse the web then import them into the right deck when you get home (I do it on my Blackberry all the time!)
I’m not going to pop a link in because this isn’t spam (I have no affiliation whatsoever) but I really do recommend you google it.
Just a thought on how to be a 21st century notecard user!

Carmella 05.25.10 at 7:32 am

So now I know what to get you for your next birthday!

Seriously, though. I love to hear how other writers organize themselves. I tried index cards for awhile but I kept losing them. And I couldn’t keep track of my own color-coding system. I’m a Post It Note girl, I guess.

Kate Fall 05.25.10 at 7:29 pm

I’m so fascinated by other people’s writing tools. Danielle, I love the idea of notecards on my desktop so I can’t misplace them. Thanks for the tip! I’ll definitely check that out. Car, you’ll have to share your post it note system with us sometime.

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