Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Tuesday's Inspiration - Anne Lamott - Index cards #MFRWauthor #amwriting

When I read the essay by Anne Lamott in Bird by Bird about index cards, I recalled my attempt to use them. I decided this was a good idea so I bought several packets of index cards and containers for them. I jotted ideas, snippets of conversation, observations of the world around me and put them on the cards and stored them in the boxes. The small cards held often no more than a word or two. The larger ones might even have snippets of a scene. I felt so organized. I like to make lists and often have a number around the house where I can jot one more thing to do. I especially like crossing out what I've done. But this is straying from Index Cards.

The file boxes were stuffed to overflowing. I sat down to begin the story I was about to begin. I spread the index cards on the table and sorted them into categories like Setting, Characters, Dialogue, Plot and probably more. When I finished I shook my head. Many of the cards didn't fit the story I planned to tell. In fact many of them made no sense. I looked at the long lists I had made while mulling over the story. These made sense. So I decided I'm not an Index Card person. I like my plans for a story numbered.

If Index Cards are your thing, you should read what Anne Lamott wrote in Bird by Bird. Then you should see if they work for you and if not find your own way of organizing. That's what writing is all about. Each of us approaches the story in a different way.


Barbara White Daille said...

Love Anne Lamott and Bird by Bird.

I couldn't get that detailed with index cards, either, but I find them helpful once the story's outlined. With one scene per card, it seems easy to see where to add a new or transitional scene or to spot places where info should be revealed in a different order

As you say, we each have a different approach - and depending on the book, that can change, too. A good thing, as it means the system is evolving and (hopefully) improving.

Good blog topic!

Janet Walters said...

Barbara, Thanks for visiting. I've been doing this for so long most of the organizing is now in my head,