In March, I built this wall-sized bulletin board (below). I wanted a tactile means of structuring and restructuring the screenplay — mapping out the story visually by taking scenes, plot points, character development threads, and other key structural story elements, representing each as an index card, and then lay them out on the floor or wall, rearranging as necessary to physically connect key character subplots or story elements. This probably sounds kind of crazy, but it really helps me to connect my right brain and left brain, so that my story doesn’t end up half brained. 😉 Seriously, this physical mapping exercise helps me to connect the left brain activity of typing out scenes with the right brain activity of visualizing the story.
So I made my own bulletin board. I looked into buying a steel magnetic board of this size or a whiteboard (for erasable markers instead of index cards), or even buying a bulletin board of this size, but all those store-bought solutions would have cost a ton. And, since the funding for the movie didn’t exist yet, I instead threw together this bulletin board in my workshop for less than $20 in supplies, and about four or five hours of labor. Woot!
It won’t win any design awards, but, if nothing else, it was a fun way to keep in touch with my woodworking, and to get familiar with the new router and router table that I won in a contest.
So, as the visual story structure of the screenplay has started forming, this board has come alive, slowly filling up with index cards and connectors, as you can see in this next picture in late May:
…and this one from about June 25, where it’s really taking shape:
I know I’m not the only writer who uses an index card technique, but I suspect my methods may be a bit different. They work well for me. 🙂 If anyone is interested, let me know and I’ll provide a little information on my index card story structuring “system,” so that you can know what all of this means, how it works, and how it’s helping me piece together the story.