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Index Cards? Really?

Yup, really! I’ve got a new answer to the age-old question of how to organize scenes.

It seems like every couple of books I completely change the way I organize and map out the scenes in my book. Why?

I have absolutely no idea. Sometimes one way works for a book, sometimes it becomes too much and sometimes too little.

For my last few books I was really happy using my Scene Worksheet (yes, you can click that to get a free copy of it – if you want it in a fillable PDF, you can get in my Chapter One Workbook). It covered everything I might need to know to write a scene and more. I delved into character development and story development questions within the worksheet and it was fantastic! I loved it.

But it became cumbersome.

I started only filling in only the first real question (after where the scene was set and whose POV it was written in): what happens. I was then left with a mostly blank worksheet taking up a lot of space (when you get 35-40 scenes in a book and each scene has it’s own page) in my notebook.

And then someone on one of my Facebook groups pointed out a new-to-him app on Windows 10 (I work on a PC, but I imagine something similar is available on a Mac): Index Cards. Yes, it’s an app! And it is exactly what you think it is.

There’s a front and a back. You can make the lines wider or narrower depending on how much information you need to fit onto your index card. And you can tag them with your own tags. It’s easy to move them around and you can put on them whatever you want.

I’ve got multiple stacks now in my app. One for each book I’m working on and one for all of the major characters in my series.

Needless to say, I am loving the simplicity of this!

The first card of a book’s stack is the hero and heroine’s GMC (internal and external) and then after that each card is a scene with the description of what happens on the front of the card and any additional information like what the conflict is and how it furthers the POV character’s goals on the back. An emotion word to describe the scene or how it fits in with the urgency of the goal could also be there.

I’ve paid (a whole $4!) for the Pro version which allows me access to further text editing tools so when I was editing the first book in the series, I could put on each card in bright orange, bold text exactly what I needed to add to this scene. That way I could read through the book all in one go and just take notes on what I needed to come back to. A bright yellow “to-do” tag at the top showed me which scenes I needed to work on.

I am loving my Index Cards! I’m finding working with this app super-easy and it’s just making my writing sail along smoothly (I’ve gone from writing one scene a day to two — 1500-2500 words). I used to use Scrivener simply for the Index Card function, but now I’ve got something that works even better because of it’s simplicity. It does one thing and it does it well. There’s no figuring things out, you just download it and go. I love that!

They do have some templates which you can super-impose on the cards, but really they’re just a picture. I don’t find them particularly easy to use or useful, sadly. Having a blank card with which I can do anything that feels right at the moment, for that scene and for that book is just perfect for me.

Have you discovered a new app that makes your writing so much easier? Please share!

Merry
 

Meredith Bond is an award-winning author of a series of traditionally published Regency romances and indie-published paranormal romances. Known for her characters “who slip readily into one’s heart,” Meredith’s heart belongs to her husband and two children. Meredith’s second favorite pastime is teaching others to write.

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