Saturday, April 20, 2013

Using index cards to outline your book

By Dennis Mellersh

Sometimes the use of traditional tactile writing materials can help your book writing efforts in the outline and draft stages.

Let’s look specifically at the book outline process, for example.

Although you can write the outline of your book on a computer, it’s not always easy to quickly scan the various thoughts you have written down and see them as a cohesive whole.

And it can be difficult, on the computer, to alter the sequence of your thoughts, to re-arrange your ideas.

What can simplify the process, and/or give you the feeling of  more direct  control of the book outlining process is to use old fashioned (tactile) writing materials such as pens, pencils, paper, and index cards.

As you do your research and are making notes on from the research material, you will start to get creative ideas for the content of your planned book.

Try writing down each of your emerging ideas such as for chapter headings, characters, plot ideas, or subjects to be included in your book, on 3x5-inch lined or unlined index cards. You can get index cards at most places that sell office supplies.

When you have completed the research, you will likely have a good number of ideas for how your book’s content should be organized written on the cards.

You can then sift through and review these cards, categorize them, sequence them, and in general organize them with an excellent overview of the whole picture of your book right in front of you in one visual field.

It can be difficult to get the same type of cohesion if you have to constantly scroll up and down screen after screen on your computer, constantly cutting and pasting.

Sometimes the old technologies for writing a book, such as pen, or pencil and paper (and index cards) can help improve the effectiveness of our use of new technologies, such as computers and tablets.

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