JustAnotherJen wrote:Rachel - I'm an uber planner. I love spreadsheets and very detailed outlines. J K Rowling's plot grid really was the inspiration for my main method. However you said you're looking for a happy medium. I would personally suggest the snowflake method. I feel like it gives you the flexibility to delve as deep as you want, or to just get a basic idea of where you're going - it's all up to you. Good luck, and I hope you get feeling better! Feeling under the weather puts such a damper on feeling creative!
I find it a shame that the Snowflake software doesn't even have a free trial. You can't access the download page without paying up front. I don't have any money at all -- well, I do, but $100 is too much for me, and I don't have a credit or debit card with which to buy things online. You can't attach a physical piggybank to PayPal, and even if I had billions of my own I'd never attach my personal identity to something as corporate-connected as a Visa/MC/Amex/Discover. I'd much rather pay with cash, and buying online doesn't allow you to do that. Plus, there's not even a free trial to check out if it works well for you or not. I'm not organized enough that I could wing "the method" alone in a Word .doc either. (Believe me, I tried.)
I've tried mind mapping software, database software, tabbed notebooks...I always feel disorganized and like I've wasted a lot of time. I know I'd feel uncomfortable not having at least a barebones framework, but the trouble I have is getting the detailed notes to an actual story format, with dialogue, scenes, interaction etc. Believe me, I've got tons of these, but no story-story as of yet. I think the problem may be I have a "deathly, hollow" fear of the first draft, which I know is a common ailment among writers, the perfectionistic (and unrealistic) need to get everything right the first time out. I feel overwhelmed as a result, and mentally cannot "chunk" but am a very all-or-nothing person. As a result I end up doing the latter.
Some people love first drafts because they get a kick out of just making a mess. I think I have a long-standing and related trauma problem involved because as a kid I was horribly beaten for getting my fingerpaints all over the floor. I once spilled Welch's grape juice on the kitchen counter trying to be a "big girl" and pour my own. The next thing I knew my dad was wailing on me for, you guessed it, making a mess -- and lest I forget, he was pretty saturated with fermented grape juice of the grownup kind. A teacher in Kindergarten had me put in the class with the severely retarded kids because my math homework was, as she put it, "unreadable." It was just supposed to be a practice sheet, and so you can kind of see that all my life I've felt this horrible fear related to "practicing" or "making a mess." Caused, of course, by irrational adults, but as much as I know that, I just can't find it in me to make mistakes the first time out.
The teacher I had wouldn't even let the kids use pencils with erasers, lest they make mistakes and make a mess. You were expected to have everything memorized inside and out before you even got started on the practice sheet
-- and write everything in perfect manuscript handwriting. Otherwise, she'd tear the whole page up and make you start over from scratch. You were not allowed to go out for recess -- or even go home -- until you were done with every single assignment for the whole day, and completed to HER liking. One day I didn't go home from morning
half-day kindergarten until 8 at night. The teacher locked my mother in the bathroom and the janitor had to let her out.
God help me, I'm using a writer's Internet forum as a therapy session. Maybe Dr. Phil hangs out here from time to time.
Anyway, the company that makes Scrivener just released a beta edition for Windows, as Scrivener was previously Mac-only. I hope it's available for pre-XP editions; as I wrote on another thread (or two), I'm actually still on Windows 98. If anyone's tried the Mac version, I'd appreciate any reviews. But just out of curiosity, Jen, where did you get a gander at Rowling's "plot grids"?