Saturday, February 6, 2010


I'm such a nerd. I enjoyed this post on index cards (from John August's site) so much that I thought I'd repost it as my entry today.


I’m outlining a project right now, and thought it would be a good time to review best practices for index cards.

-Keep it short. Maximum seven words per card.

-A card represents a story point, be it a scene or a sequence. You don’t need a card for every little thing.

-Keep cards general enough that they can be rearranged. (“Battle in swamp” rather than “Final showdown”)

-Horizontal (a table or counter) often works better than a vertical (a corkboard).

-Post-It notes make good alternative index cards.

-Consider a letter code for which characters are featured in the sequence. Helpful for figuring out who’s missing.

-Most movies can be summarized in less than 50 cards.

-Cards are cheap. Don’t hesitate to rework them.

-Consider a second color for action sequences. Helps show the pacing.

-Write big. You want to be able to read them from a distance.>>

from the fantastic site

now, from me- one of the most helpful writing tools I've found in the last few YEARS, which has a great index card function - corkboard, cards, pins that you can change the colors of - all on your desktop, is called Scrivener. It's free for 30 days and $40 (I think) after that. The website is

It's much better for the environment than the actual paper ones, you don't lose them, you can rearrange them, color code them, change the color codes, it also can convert your notecards into an outline - wonderful, and has a great "research" file where you can put everything related to your writing project - including music, reference pictures, website links etc... all in one place, oh, and there's a word processing function.


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