Monday, 10 July 2017

House moves, Post-it notes, and Writing by Jess Butterworth

I was going to write about outlining as part of the structural editing process today, particularly how post-it notes help me visualise and organise story threads, once I have a first draft. I know I’m not alone in this, but I only tried this technique recently and it was so helpful I wish I’d been doing it earlier. With my second novel, When the Mountains Roared, I wrote down the main plot points, each on its own post-it note, and stuck them to the wall.

I was then able to see clearly where events needed to happen in order to create tension, conflict and drive the story forward. I moved all the post-it notes around until the story thread was working the way I wanted it to. The post-it note timeline then helped me keep track of events that were now in the past/future and adjust the other scenes accordingly. I ended up with post-it notes everywhere! 

But yesterday I moved house for the third time in seven months; the first involved moving countries and the second involved moving States.

Whilst it’s been an amazing adventure, I’m happy to know I’ll be in this next place for at least a year. And this morning I awoke with a fierce urge to write. I suddenly have another voice in my ear and her story needs to be told. So the outlining blog will have to wait.

Rowena House recently wrote a brilliant blog about outlining. You can view it here: Rowena House and Outlining

Here’s a video of me and my sisters instead. 

And a picture of the kittens hanging out in the wine rack. (They weren’t stuck, I promise.)

Jess Butterworth

@j_t_butterworth (twitter)

Running on the Roof of the World is out now. 



Penny Dolan said...

What a busy time you've had! Hope there'll be plenty of post-it-note plans taking shape in this new home.

Rowena House said...

Thanks for the mention, Jess, and I hope the writing went brilliantly. I really should have mentioned more 'kinetic' outlining systems where things like post-it notes represent events which you can move around (the index card system a less sticky version of the same thing) but my post-it notes never seem sticky enough, and fall under the desk, so I've abandoned using them now.

Love the kitten in the wine rack. What is it with cats and small spaces? Hope your new home a comfort & joy. xx

Val Tyler said...

Love the pictures of the cats! Good vintage!