Ode to the index card!

I read somewhere on some author’s blog that putting your novel’s scenes on index cards was a good way to get organized for a revision. So I tried it. Here’s what I found out:

1. Summarizing each scene gave me a great overview of the story.
2. I need to move around a few scenes. The index cards should make that easier.
3. I still don’t have a clear idea where each Act begins and ends.
4. I should probably figure that out, huh?
5. My ending doesn’t work, even in short form.
6. I think I might finally have figured out what my theme is.

My novel arranged into Acts I, II and III

Now I can look at the story in one shot. I’m a visual thinker, so staring at 100+ manuscript pages, or worse, looking at a computer screen 1 page at a time feels limiting and frustrating. Who knew index cards could be so liberating? I’m less panic-filled going into this revision and I can see the finish line.

For the novel that I started during NaNoWriMo ’09, I think using index cards early in the process will make that story much more interesting. I may even shuffle up the cards to see where kismet leads. It’s still early enough that I’m not married to anything yet, so the whole manuscript’s a playground. It’s meant to be a fun story, and taking a more fun approach may help to keep it that way.

Oh, me likey. Me likey mucho.