The Line-For-Scene Is Done

Old saying: “If you don’t have time to do it again, do it right.” card_deckHere’s a picture of the line-for-scene, shown from the back to give an idea of how many scenes there are, and how many of them aren’t green. Green meaning “Not a lot of work for me.” Anything other than green meaning “Effort required here.”

Turns out that instead of a line per scene, this little project necessitated about a paragraph per scene, even on the healthy green cards. Lot of stuff to keep track of, all of it important. I set up the cards with the POV character noted in the top left-hand corner, H for Hawkspar (with all her many names) and A for Aaran. Next across the top was the page in the manuscript where I could find the original scene. They got moved around a lot — this was important. Next, the number of pages the scene started with, just to give myself a little running mental tally as I go on whether I’m running long or short once I start ripping things out.

Following that was the summary. On green (20% or less new material needed) or yellow pages (more than 20%, less than 50%), I simply underlined the changed part as I wrote it. On orange cards (50%-90% new material) and red cards (write the whole damned thing from scratch), I didn’t bother with the underlining. Seeing everything underlined did not seem like a morale-booster to me.

And here are some more pictures.

red_card
A red card.
orange_card
An orange card.
green_card
The beloved and too-damned-rare green card.

Oh. And the cards are hole-punched and bound together with a paper clip bent into a key-ring because my daughter had a whole novel outlined on index cards, but not yet numbered into final order, when the card stack got knocked to the floor. She still hasn’t been able to get it back into a good order.

I figured I didn’t have time to try. So I made sure it couldn’t happen with this way-too-big stack. (Exactly 100 scenes, if you’re curious.)

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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and self-publish my new ones.

4 comments… add one
  • arainsb123 Sep 27, 2005 @ 23:48

    Ack. The permalink URL for my trackback was stripped of all the “%20″s that represent spaces.

    Ascwellan is going to need a ton of rewriting and revising, too, because of the scenes I wrote out of order. They’ve caused a lot of inconsistencies.

  • PolarBear Sep 14, 2005 @ 18:48

    Fanned out like that, I see way more green than you made it sound like. Of course, each of those pink and yellows indicates a slew more work than those greens, so if I had to do the work, it would look more daunting to me, too.

  • Jim Sep 14, 2005 @ 16:56

    Holly,

    You’re off to a good start, it seems, even the work seems overwhelming at the moment.

    Query: while I know that a lot of people work better with index cards, I’ve put together a data base where I keep my scene summaries. Is that something you might be interested in?

    Jim

  • ammit Sep 14, 2005 @ 16:06

    From reading those three cards (and the preview bit you posted a while back), I’m even more eager to read this book.

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