I am easily confused. There. I said it. Know my secret shame.
For a year, I thought I was a year older than I was in reality and even celebrated the wrong birthday. Then, there was the time…(s) *winces at the plural of that word* I drove to the wrong state when navigating the interstate. We won’t discuss how this happened more than once, but let’s just say it’s been a hard mishap to live down in my family. So, when I attempt to tackle the writing of a book, I’m super organized about the process. Surprising? Not really.
I’m likely the most plotsy plotter you’ll ever meet, with a giant cork board in my office where scenes are tracked and color coded, and graphs of characters hang beside timelines in organizational harmony. It’s beautiful, isn’t it? *sighs*
But, even with this level of organization, there are scenes I struggle to write. Action scenes have a lot of moving pieces in them—not the best for this befuddled author. But, they are also necessary in every story. So what’s a Bad Girl to do? I use two tactics that I picked up from football and spy movies—obviously, because that’s not random at all.
The first concept has helped me ever since my editor wrote in the track changes of one of my books, “There are a lot of people running around in the woods. ???” I knew then I needed a way to track characters movements so that I wouldn’t lose anyone as I wrote; and I wouldn’t lose my readers as they followed along.
The Football Locker Room White Board
I use a version of this in my office to track characters’ locations. It’s helpful in climactic scenes where bad guys are surrounding the heroine. Or, as you can see in this example, when characters are moving around at a party and the scene crosses over between 2 books. The use of a whiteboard makes complicated scenes easy to see as you write.
The second concept I’ve recently added when I found myself getting lost in my own scene. “Wait…She can’t trail her hand across his bare chest when he’s still fully dressed.”
Where did I look, but to spy movies to solve my problem? At 08:00 hours, we’ll meet at the ridge line above the enemy camp…It works for spies. Why not use this idea to simplify complex scenes?
The Spy Movie Action List
I’ve started listing out a play by play in a bullet point type of list. I change the text color in my document to red and then delete the list as I write in standard black type. It keeps everything in the scene moving along in the right direction, and allows me to focus on the emotion of the moment and not what comes next in the scene.
He sees her across the room and moves in her direction.
She escapes the conversation she was in and turns for the door.
He catches up with her on the front steps and they move into the shadows.
I hope these organizational tips from a mixed-up Bad Girl are helpful! Happy writing!
Are you easily confused? What tactics do you use to stay organized? Let’s chat about it!