While I waited for my last round of readers to give me their feedback on Totem, I figured it was time to dive back into Summit (the follow-up Novel to Totem). While I was writing the rough draft of Totem, I just jotted down everything that needed to happen before the ending. I had most of the main ideas sketched out, but very few of the details; It made the writing fun and loose and somewhat impulsive.
Shortly after beginning Summit it became clear that my old approach was not working. I found myself with about 60 pages of non-sequential scenes typed up and realized that I needed to utilize a different organizational approach with this project. Tonight, I was reading through those 60 pages wondering how to organize it all. Then I remembered a trick I learned in high school about using index cards to organize a research paper. The idea was to put one fact on each card (along with it's bibliographical information), and then put the cards in order. It worked so well in high school that I returned to the method whenever I had a longer paper due in college.
Obviously there's no bibliographical information to account for here, but there are a lot more than 15 pages to organize. I pulled my left-over note-cards out of my desk supplies drawer and sat down to work.
Follow up: Less than 24 hours later and I have over 40 cards (in chronological order! ) to serve as my outline for Summit. (YAY!) I spent a couple of hours writing down as many turning points and scenes that I could think of. Afterward I lined up all the cards in chronological order. WAY easier than writing it a notebook and drawing arrows all over the place. I even color coded the cards. Blue for conflict, Pink for relationship developments, Yellow for important news/turning points, and white for connecting scenes. Now I can really get going on that draft!