New Toy

I went to the Romance Writer’s Workshop, and became learned in the ways of storyboards. Fiddling with the storyboard let me know what was wrong with my novel. Good.

Industriously making post-its and moving them around did not fix the problems, though. I concluded two things; the storyboard only permitted me access to the whole novel at night, at home, when I was pooped, and that I needed to murder a huge number of my darlings — but couldn’t tell which ones had to go.

Shannon suggested last week that I tell her the story, which I did in brief, maybe a dozen sentences. “Which parts have to be there for the story you want?” First and last plot points.

Which meant all the others had targets on their heads. Way to go, Shannon.

That was a strangely liberating outlook. I changed from “something has to go” to “it will be interesting to see if anything stays.” I looked at the storyboard with loathing, and switched to tinytinytiny post-its and a notebook — portable storyboard.

I was still not moving with anything approaching speed. It’s easy to move the story elements around this way, but still takes attention. Changing the writing on the notes takes time. And the sticky wears out.

Then, Lisa, on whom be praise, suggested I look into Consistency. It won’t do much for me, I think, but that company also produces Flying Logic.

My world shook.

Yesterday I had a beginning and an end, and some very nice GMC notes. I put them into entities in Flying Logic and started making lines … which demonstrated when I had multiple scenes in the same scene; corrected that … which showed holes; corrected that … which revealed why my major plot points weren’t working; figured out what they had to be … which showed new scenes that had to be there … and where the tension had to build … and then discovered that I could customize the boxes in the program, changed them to match my post-it notes so I could see where I had too much of one element clustered ….

I spent three hours of a train ride yesterday steadily creating a plot that works. I did not have a cat exploding kind of day. I had something better. I had a “knew my work and did it well” kind of day. It felt terrific.

I could blow up cats for the rest of my life and not be professionally published, not make a living of it. But if I can, when I have no idea how to do what I’m doing, identify my work and do it well, then all I need to do is persist. Exploding cats are a perk of the job, not a requirement of the job.

9 thoughts on “New Toy”

  1. From the designer of Flying Logic

    Hi! I just read your wonderful experience using Flying Logic, and I’d like to ask permission to excerpt the text of this post in our blog, full credit and a back-link to be given of course.



    1. Re: From the designer of Flying Logic

      That’s lovely and flattering and I’m R. Scott Shanks, Jr., if you don’t mind. Thank you!

      …I don’t suppose that would count for a discount on the professional edition would it? *soulful eyes*

      1. Re: From the designer of Flying Logic

        Aw, soulful eyes always get me. Tell you what: I’ve just added the coupon WORDSMITH to the Sciral Store . Until April 20, 2008 it’s good for $70 off one Flying Logic Pro license per customer, which is regularly $149. That means the price for you is $79, the same price as Flying Logic Personal– almost 50% off. I’m calling this a “writers special,” so feel free to spread it around to anyone who likes to write. But I won’t complain if somehow some non-writers get ahold of it. 😉 Just use that coupon code when checking out. This is the only place I’m going to post this, so it’s up to you to spread the word.



        1. Re: From the designer of Flying Logic

          *jaw drops*

          Robert, you rock as few have rocked before.

          *scurries to spread the lovin’*

    1. It may well be. Or it may be that I am finally paddling in the direction of the currents of my life, and my swimming speed has picked up accordingly.

      Either way, squee!

  2. That Flying Logic looks like it would be good for automotive trouble shooting flow charts. Based on my 5 second perusal, that is.

    1. It would, in fact. It seems to have analytical capabilities that I’ve not yet plumbed; it is capable of accepting conditions like “true”, “false”, and “yeah, mostly” or “not really, but maybe kind of a little”, which makes it good for analog problems — which are most of them.

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