(I was about to yank a conversation in a different thread way off-topic, so I figured I’d do it here)
At present I’m back to my same-ole/age-ole problem of how to organize myself. I really do think that’s one of my biggest barriers to writing, apart from procrastination (which is more of a moral problem… )
I’ve been having some success at using drawing programs like draw.io (now https://app.diagrams.net/), visio, etc., and excel (on occasion), and google sheets, etc. – but I’ve never been able to find that perfect blend of “stuff” that really helps me get organized.
I find myself gravitating back to plain ole’ pencil and paper more times than not. And sometimes using post-it notes as a kind of corkboard substitute. I’ve written two or three times as many paper notes as I have words in my WIP at this point… if I could simply slap a cover on those, I’d be done
I really really really really wish there was a way of “scanning” my paper notes into the computer somehow, such that the little “boxes” and arrows would magically turn into something manageable (and editable) by the computer, but between the current OCR state of the art and my handwriting, that’s never going to happen, I don’t think… (not holding my breath, anyway…)
An example (I have 150 pages or more of these types of notes):
And my pitiful little doodles to help me visualize scenes:
I have a huge-ass whiteboard that I use on occasion, and it’s nice for a change, but it has the same problem of doing it on paper. I can only take a picture of it and stick it in the album if I want it to be retained.
Lately I’ve taken to using drawing programs to help. I’ve found that once I’ve worked it out on paper, it’s a pain-in-the-ass but doable, to transcribe it into visio or something. I try to make the notes as short as possible and then I can just push them around to come up with a timeline / chapter-scene plan. And I’ve got a neat little trick I’ve discovered for getting it from visio into excel, and from there, into scrivener as text, sorted in the correct order and ready to use for milestones (as I’ve discussed before elsewhere)
This allows me to push around the blocks in visio until I get what I want more-or-less (usually more of less, and less of more…) and then do the hop through excel and into scrivener as a list. Which comes out something like this:
I’ve tried every “mind-map” program I can find and they all get in my way far more than they help, so I’ve given up on those. I like the idea of a corkboard, but I haven’t found any of those that I like (or want to afford) either. I have a VERY STRONG preference for keeping my WIP on my own systems (though backups to the cloud are okay)-- which keeps me away from using web-based services for that sort of thing.
I do sometimes use the drawing programs to create “inspirational” images, that I can use to get a quick picture of things that are happening. But I’d love to find something similar to PLOTAGON that I could (A) afford, and (B) wasn’t so dumbed-down and cheesy as to be ridiculous to use… Something that I could create some characters, draw some minimal 3d “sets”, and pose the characters within it to some elementary degree. Not wanting to make a movie, but more just “storyboard” frames for key scenes. Sometimes to help me get the action / movement / who-goes-where type stuff in my head.
Here’s an example of one of my ‘inspirational pictures’ (they tend to be less blurry on my screen for some reason… )
All of this stuff is nice, but I wish there was a way to do it in a more “integrated” way.