I’ve been playing around with several methods for outlining stories and plot runs. Everything from using post-it notes or notecards to taping together legal paper and drawing from left to right the direction of the story. For the most part, all of these are workable solutions. Each of the techniques I’ve tried has been helpful in reminding me where I’m headed as I tease words from my brain during the writing process.
The chief issue I’ve had so far with these various approaches is that none of them are very portable. It is extremely difficult to trot off to the rec center and start writing knowing that your plot outline is back at home pinned to the wall on a white board. I’ve had to re-write several plot outlines because the paper has been torn or “augmented” by my three-year-old when I look away.
In the time before I was a writer, I did some work managing projects. I’ve used many tools to get those jobs done, and tonight I took that tool knowledge and tried to adapt it to the task of providing a mobile, cloud-based plot outline that I can take with me on my laptop or iPad when I travel. I’m actually pretty pleased with the results. I’ve created a mind map (not 100%, but close) of the Novella “Up Slope” that I’ve been working on using MindNode Pro.
That is some snazzy stuff right there. The best part is that I can work on it from wherever. It lives in the cloud, which means that if I need to consult it while I’m tapping away, it’s only another tap on the touchpad. It is going to give me much more control, not just the illusion of the control and direction I hope for every time I break out a pile of sticky notes.
The downside is that there’s nothing really tactile about it. I can’t scribble in the margins and Tess won’t leave me spelling corrections and suggestions if I accidentally leave it out on the table.