There is a useful technique that I have found to battle procrastination, if you are stuck at a certain scene, or if you are lacking in motivation and conviction to continue writing. It is something that I am sure that you are familiar with whether or not you have made one yourself. It is an inspiration board. What it is, is a large board where you put all you photos, inspirational quotes and other creative things. However, in relation to your writing I have tweaked it, somewhat.
Due to the fact that I have been working on my story for such a long time, on and off, there have been many times were I get an epiphany and another idea for a different book comes into my mind. When I get these new ideas they ravish my mind for days and I feel as if I literally see it unfolding before me. I see it when I am driving in the car or having a conversation with someone. It is like I am living another life in my mind’s eye. This is what had happened to me this week and my all-consuming urge to write this new story took over and my was (almost) old story forgotten. However, I did not type a word of this new story (other than the outline) because I knew that I would stray from my goal and instead, I decided to focus my vision. The inspiration board helped me do this and I continued to add another 20 pages and to ultimately finish the chapter!
This is what mine turned out like!
· Pictures of people who look like your character and places you see in your story;
· Push pins;
· Paper tags;
· Colourful pens; and
· Palm cards.
Step One: create an ‘act structure’
An ‘act structure’ is how the structure of a book should look like. It should have a beginning, a ‘plot point one’ which is the first propelling action which leads the story into a set of complications. These complications are then to lead to ‘plot point two’ which is the next pivotal moment in your novel that ultimately leads to the climax, resolution and conclusion.
Using the push pins and twine, set across your board the act structure. The reason why I have not put a straight line is because this will help you ensure that your story has the appropriate structure for a successful novel. If you think back to books that you have read that made you interested in the beginning, bored in the middle and excited at the end. However, all in all you feel it did not escalate enough? Well, this is because I did not have a proper structure. Personally, I found that it helped me choose what the actual ‘complications’ of my plot were and I was surprised to find that some were not as critical as I supposed.
At this point you may also set up using the pins and twine, the line for your subplot should you have one. This does not have to be in the same act structure, but it should rise and fall in unison with your act structure of the main plot. (You will see in this picture it is straight- upon further alterations since taken, the sub plot line is curved as in the final photo above).
The next important step is to use your tags or labels to indicate your important points in the timeline. Such as the beginning, plot point one and two, as well as points where your plots converge. Also, should there be a time lapse, you can use any ribbons you have or a line of pins to indicate where this happens on the corresponding timelines.
Step Three: Pictures
This is very important. I am not sure about any of you, but I save any picture on instagram or Facebook that makes me think “Oh that could be the place I have been visualising for that scene….’.
Printing these pictures out and looking at them as you right will help you visualise that scene and maybe even give you a sense of being in that environment. It is the same for printing pictures of people who look like you characters. I am not saying that you should or should not base your characters looks on a celebrity or sports hero, but if perchance they do look scarily alike print it out and look at it when you are typing their scene.
The reason you should put this down after your initial pinning is because it is alright if your palm cards cover some pictures, but it is not alright if the pictures cover your palm cards. Your cards shape the future of your novel, you must be able to see them. Place them where you have gaps and anticipate where they will not be covered up entirely.
Step Four: Play God, if you will.
This next step is the most exciting and beneficial of the entire exercise. This is where you will plan out your plot. This will allow you to solidify in your mind the past, present and determine the future of your land, as well as your characters. You will pull all the strings and determined who lives and who dies in your world.
Think about the plot points that you have already written out about your story (If you haven’t already, I strongly suggest you write one or at least begin). Start writing the main points and clip them to the twine. Do not go in minute detail here, as this is for the general overview to get your head around issues that you have been having. Keep in mind that you will be viewing this inspiration board from a slight distance or at an angle, therefore you should use big writing and bullet points.
Continue to do this until you have completed the entire act structure. I found when I did this that I began thinking of scenes or things that were to happen that I had not really thought of because it was too confusing. However, as I kept clipping points I realised how important they were and exactly where they should come in on the timeline.
You may find that this process takes the longest out of all. I know that I certainly did.
Step Five: Get creative.
This is when you can have some fun and put your own personal flare into things. For instance, I put up in all my gaps, inspirational quotes to look at to keep me going and I pinned up ribbons. Personally, I wanted to maintain that classic corkboard feel.
Some other ideas that I had, but did not end up doing were:
· Placing colourful paper in the background first before you do your pinning. I did, in fact, have some art paper in my cupboard, but I felt that I wanted the cork in the background.
· You could put a paper 2015 weekly calendar on the board. I really wanted to do this, but I ran out of space on the board. If you do this you can put your writing goals in it and tick it off as you go to keep you honest.
· You could stick an adhesive pocket to the board, so that you may put other pictures or drawings for your characters in it.
My last piece of advice is to hang it in your room or office, the place where you do most of your writing. Make this your anchor and look to it whenever you need a push. In fact, I looked at it today while I wrote an extremely technical scene. You should also tick off each card as you finish writing the chapters or scenes and watch yourself inching towards your goal.
Let me know in the comments below what you think of the idea and your experiences in making one! I know that this is a very general over view of your story, but stay tuned because I am working on an idea for those who want to go more in depth. Thank you all for the support and I cannot wait to read what you all have to say now and in the published future.