Tag Archives: photos

Planning your novel, part four

I’ve given everyone a pretty good idea of how I set up my board, and how I move my cards around to get between the cornerstones of a story. I’ve also explained how you might use a different style and still benefit from a storyboard. Today is all about the bells and whistles that really help me with a story.

My app comes with a drawer that holds things in addition to index cards. Some of these are very handy, others not so much. I have no need to put a contact card in my outline. (Maybe a pizza place that delivers?)

Note: if you want to try a physical storyboard, you can do all the same things.

I want to start off with the checklist option. There are certain things that you want your character to do. Why not make a checklist and include it in your outline. This is a good way to keep from getting out of logical order. Here’s a decent example:

The stages of grieving

 

We put our characters through a lot. It’s more realistic to have them experience a loss by following the stages of grieving. In a novel you might be able to skip a step, but it details how most folks would act in the event of a loss. This is one example. You can use a checklist for all kinds of things.

My app comes with some cool little arrows. Since I can change the colors, I can coordinate what they mean with the key elements of a story.

In this example, I might add yellow arrows to take my main character from Ron Weasley all the way to Gandalf.

I’m an old guy. I don’t always remember minutia from day to day. When writing a novel it could be month to month.

If I know I’m going to use the old falling anvil trick in Act Three, I need to hoist the anvil somewhere in Act One or Two. The pink arrows can really help with that.

I don’t always follow this advice in my outline, but when I have, it makes everything much easier. There are still plenty of times I’ll have to go back and modify chapter three while I’m working on chapter 29, but it still helps.

I don’t color coordinate anything, but the potential is there. I did it for the purposes of this post. I use a lot of sticky notes. Again, my memory is still there, it just isn’t as fast as it used to be. Sometimes, at the end of a writing day, I’ll add a note about some idea I want to use in the next writing session. I call them “Hey Dummy” notes. It helps when the next writing session is fourteen days away. Here are some ideas for sticky notes:

When I finally get back to writing, I review my “Hey Dummy” notes and delete them.

I also read back and forward a bit. The story always deviates from the outline, and there is no law that says it can’t.

I’ve even been known to change the outline, because I’ve come up with some brilliant idea while writing.

Of course, I’ve also abandoned the outline completely on occasion. At least it got me started on the right foot. The cornerstones of three act structure were still useful to keep my story on track.

Its more typical for me to start writing before the outline is finished. I usually pay the price and have to go back, update the outline, and plan out the rest of the story.

One of the best things about a storyboard is pictures. Pictures really help with descriptions. I add them to my board at key places. Since this is the private part of your work, you can grab anything you like off the internet. No need to worry about copyright. Here’s an example from Arson:

Everyone’s favorite pyrophilliac has a distinct hairstyle. (Maybe she’s just my favorite.) She would never wear that horrible bow thing.

She also has some unique items she uses for work, and to decorate her office.

I find pictures to be extremely helpful. If your character has a unique style, you can pin some clothing or other bits to your board.

Maybe you want some actual crime scene photos to remind you to include specific details like pin flags or number markers.

 

True story time. When I was writing Arson, I was also outlining The Cock of the South.

Outlining is something I can do while my wife plays her music or watches American Idol. It doesn’t take quite the concentration that writing does.

I decided to completely outline the whole story. It was one of those personal challenges I talk about on occasion. I learn by trying new things, and this needed to be tested.

My app lets me seat a board within a board. I filled this storyboard with pictures and character arch reminders. I wound up with a board for each section.

The payoff was writing the whole novel in three months. Remember, I have a family and a full time job. I only get to write on Saturday mornings and one rotating day per week. Researching during the writing process was kept to a minimum. It was just writing. It was almost as if the only thing I had to concentrate on was making sure my cast of characters stayed unique and engaging. The image is how the links to the subsequent boards are displayed.

I’ve never taken it to this level since then. I should, but I always get too excited and want to start writing. My next challenge is to outline multiple projects and make them fight for my writing time. The losers will still be around, and may get a chance later. Here is a section of the board from The Playground. It shows some of the bells and whistles together on an actual storyboard.

My boards don’t start out this way. Most of them are a collection of loose notes. I won’t even fill out the premise or important act points until later.

Lorelei, my Muse, has been haunting me again blessing me with her presence. She’s been giving me ideas about all my potential stories. I decided to start a board last night so I could share one here.

This story doesn’t even have a title yet. The premise and act cards are still untouched. None of the cards are anything more than random ideas. My sticky notes are all about things I need to research. They aren’t even in columns right now.

I’ll move them into columns when the time comes. The research stickies will get discarded and replaced with data. If you want to expand the picture, there might be a spoiler or two, or everything could change. I might not let this one off the island. It’s a fair enough example for this post.

I’m a little hesitant to return to a paranormal story right away. I’ve written two, back to back. Since this one is set in history, it doesn’t lend itself easily to fantasy or science fiction. It will have to compete for its writing time.

Storyboards provide a nice visual. It’s easy to see when you don’t have enough material in one of the acts. It’s usually Act Two. The beginning and ending are easier to come up with, because they’re more exciting. One glance can show you the problem.

Read Part Three here.

Let’s call it. This was my sequence on story boarding. I’ve learned so much from other writers that I thought it was time to share. My process formed by grabbing bits and pieces from other writers. Are you going to attempt a storyboard? Did you gain a nugget to add to your own style? Is it all bullshit that stifles creativity? Is storyboarding a mental version of water boarding in your mind? Could it be useful under some circumstances, but not others? Maybe you have a tip to offer? Let me hear from you.

23 Comments

Filed under Writing

A day, in which I don’t like things

If you aren’t into tantrums, here’s your opportunity to skip this post. We will still be friends.

I am not a patient guy, but I try. One of the things I do is give things time before making a judgment. I still have to force myself, but I’m improving.

After much deliberation, and a reasonable amount of time, I don’t like the new and improved WordPress.

I still think it’s the best blogging platform out there, but they’ve certainly made it less user friendly for those who blog. Here are my examples:

  • I can’t stand the new and improved stats display. It looks like bad chibi anime to me. I vote every single time I check stats, but apparently it was to placate serious users with no real value behind it. I’ve been clicking to display the old stats page, but now they forced me to swipe through all the new displays to the bottom before I can see any stats that make sense. It has the feeling of a close out sale. “Once they’re gone, they’re gone.”
  • I am pretty disappointed that I can no longer open a page of my comments, likes, and follows. I am getting a lot of action these days, and the scroll thingie doesn’t work all that well. I would be mortified if I couldn’t acknowledge someone’s comment, and am afraid I might have missed one or two.
  • None of the changes work well with iOS. I’m sure there aren’t many Apple fans out there, so why bother. (Rolls eyes.) When I try to respond to a comment, the display actually jerks around, and I wind up hitting the wrong button half the time. The send button isn’t reliable when I do manage to hit it.
  • I know it’s old now, but I don’t like the new post “beep beep boop” version either. I always click through to the older one, but wonder how long that will remain. Even it doesn’t like iOS very well. I write most of my posts in Pages these days, and paste them into the new post.
  • I want the link option to work every single time. Two thirds of the time, when I highlight a section, the link option greys out. I have to choose a different word to highlight until the link option is available. ( Three or four times, minimum.) Only then can I make the link I originally wanted.
  • I want the ability to include a picture when using my iPhone. I usually write these on my iPad, but sometimes it isn’t available. The entire iPhone version is frustrating.

I feel like a hacker whenever I use WordPress these days. Nearly everything is becoming a work around. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going anywhere, but I feel like WordPress developers ought to actually use the software on various platforms before they release it to the masses.

I loved BlogPad Pro, but they decided not to update it when iOS 8 came out. It has a bug now that allows me to type faster than it can think. I’m not a fast typist.

Do any of you know of a reliable app that does WordPress better than WordPress?

37 Comments

Filed under Blogging

iOS H8te

Yeah, I wrote the title that way on purpose. It’s supposed to be clever.

Today’s post is intended to provide a place for iOS users to commiserate about the new operating system, and possibly offer some hints if you have any. Let’s hear them, God knows we need them.

I spent most of two nights ago watching my iPad and iPhone fail at getting the latest operating system. I wound up checking the internet for a solution. I had to hook up to the Mac (which also needed an update) and go through the iTunes store.

I finally got everything up and running, but my initial opinion is this iSucks. My photos are scattered from Hell to breakfast now, with no obvious way to change things around. They are organized by date, or location. Then there’s an option of seeing them pinned onto a map based on where the photo was taken or downloaded. That’s about as handy as a chapped ass. What if I want to organize by topic; cover art, sourdough photos, etc.?

Someone online suggested making folders and organizing things the way I like them. Great idea.

I grab artwork off the internet. Some of it gets pinned to my outlines, some of it becomes wallpaper on my phone that I change every day, then I delete it never to be used again. It varies from science fiction, fantasy, and paranormal, to quite a few pinups. (the painted kind, not the photo kind.) I made an artwork folder on my iPad and dragged everything into it. Everything is duplicated not moved. Delete one = delete both.

The sales pitch was that iCloud syncs everything up really well now. This morning I tried to change my phone background. No artwork folder, it’s only on the iPad. Looks like iCloud isn’t delivering on its promise.

I went to my RSS reader, Feeddler Pro. Every page I open crashes the app. I finally read a couple archaeology articles and two comics by telling it to open the pages in my Safari browser. I decided to look for an update to Feeddler. This was app of the year or something last year. The app store says it no longer exists – at all.

The app store found a little used app and said it has an upgrade available. What the iHell? I told it to upgrade. It said we can no longer find this app in the iTunes store. This is the same system that told me to upgrade the stupid thing. I tried it a day later and it upgraded. Color me iConfused.

The new iOS says I can send an audio text now. All I have to do is hold down the microphone icon and speak. I tried it out on my wife. I entered her contact information, and the microphone icon disappeared. Not an option. (We both have iPhones and upgraded software.) I tried the microphone icon on the keyboard. It produced a wonderful speech to text, but no audio text.

Worst of all is WordPress in the Safari Browser. I use the Reader to read all of your blogs. Keep in mind that I am frequently away from my computer, and I sleep sometimes too. When I wake up, I may have eight to ten hours of blogs to catch up on. Bedtime for me could be breakfast time for some of the blogs I read. (Ali in Ireland, Jo in South Africa, etc.) We aren’t all on Mountain Daylight time here.

When I open a post it always does so in a new page, and I like that. When I close that page now, my WordPress Reader is a sheet of grey. I have to hit refresh to get it back. That means I start at the top and read southward all over again. I have a temporary work around, in that if I’m really quick, I can open a post and immediately return to reader. I can’t read the post until later, so I open a few dozen posts and finish with Reader. I can read each post after that and close the page when I’m finished. Then I only have to croak and restart Reader once.

This gives me an idea. Sorry for the aside. Reader ought to have a filtering option. I could scroll through it and tag all the posts I want to read. Filter everything down and let me read the entire post in filtered view. Sorry, back to my tantrum…

I use Blogpad Pro for my posts. I really like it, but they posted two days ago that it has glitches with iOS 8. They expected an upgrade soon. I give them credit for warning me, and am certain they’ll do just what they said.

Apple always has an update out relatively soon after release. I really hope they address some of these issues. It sounds like the app store has some problems going on too.

On the plus side, if I connect my phone to power, I can say “Hey Siri” and ask her some useless question. Might be cool in the car, but it has to be connected to power. Yay, that works just as advertised. (worthless, but it works.)

How about you guys? Are any of you Apple users having any problems? Call them out in the comments, and offer solutions if you have any.

Update: I sent an email off to Feeddler. They have a Feeddler Pro 2 under consideration in the app store right now. This one should work with iOS 8. Nice folks, quick answer back for a $4 consumer.

14 Comments

Filed under Blogging, Uncategorized

A Little Blogging Help, Please

When I post something and include pictures, it ruins my formatting from the picture southward. I’ve edited the posts and added extra returns to prove I know what a paragraph is. The repair doesn’t take.

Can anyone offer some advice so this won’t happen again? Advice on repairing my older posts is also welcome.

Update: I went to the Forum, and Timethief helped me out. In the visual editor, it requires a “shift/enter” to do what I need. She also said in the text editor, it would only take adding the return.

Thanks to everyone for your help in this. I still have some things to check out, based upon your suggestions.

15 Comments

Filed under Blogging