What is the best way to write a story?

Is there a best way or just a different way?

Ever lay awake with a story running around in your head like a demented hamster on one of those little wheels?

That happened to me last night. And after tossing and turning for what seemed like hours, I came up with a plan.

Index Cards.

I laid out the story on index cards in my mind.note-147603_640

Now I’ve never used this technique before. But that’s what worked last night. After I’d planned the story one index card at a time, I was able to finally drift off to sleep.

index cards
one end of my kitchen table

I’m not usually a planner. Nor am I a total pantster either. I’m somewhere in the middle. I jot down a story summary and go from there. However, this morning after enough coffee to clear the cobwebs I opened a pack of index cards, no telling how long I’ve had these things and, began writing.

So far, I like the process. I’ll keep you updated as to how it goes, if this works for me or not. Because jotting down my thoughts on these cards is just the beginning. Now I must convert these cards into scenes and the scenes into chapters. That’s the tricky part.

I understand a lot of you like Scrivener and use the index cards there. I’ve never tried that. Hmm, maybe…

Google how to write using index cards and whoa! Everyone seems to have a different take on how to use them. Some of the techniques are more detailed than an old-fashioned outline.

The point is there is no right way to plot out your story.

Whatever works for the writer is the right way. And there are lots of ways to write a story. Whether you begin with an outline, a summary, a query, index cards or just sit down and write like the bats of hell are after you. It’s all good.

Y’all tell me, do you use cards or post-it notes?

What is your favorite method to write or start your story?

My inquiring mind wants to know. Leave me a comment or 

Click to write me or contact me on Twitter @jeancogdell, Facebook at  jean.cogdell and Amazon.com, stop by and say hey! The lights are on and I’m waiting.

And as always, there are great links at the end of this post. Keep reading.

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Notecarding: Plotting Under Pressure

Using Index Cards To Outline A Novel



15 thoughts on “What is the best way to write a story?

  1. I like the old fashioned note book so that I don’t lose anything. But I quite like the idea of excel – if only I knew how to set one up. The other useful tip is to use the app called Dragon.You just dictate your ideas or thoughts or even your book and the app records and types it for you. You can also then email it to yourself or others. It’s great for those ideas in the middle of the night, in the car or on a run. Perhaps then it could be cut and pasted into an excel spreadsheet.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I use yWriter, which is the poor man’s version of Scrivener. It doesn’t have as many hide-aways for all the things a writer may need, but it also doesn’t have the price tag. Anyway, it does have what they call a story board where there are “index” cards for each scene. To write out the cards though, I must be where I start the scene, but on the second tag. The program will automatically put them in the slots on the story board. I don’t use them except to define a premise for each scene. I don’t know how valuable they might be if I tried being more of a plotter.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I use one of those Moleskin notebooks and just write down certain events. How I get to the “events” is another story, it just unfolds itself in my mind in the car, on the way to work, in the shower (which seems to be where I have most of my revelations), sitting on the patio. I do not like index cards, I think I have flashbacks to school (pre-computers), I don’t even like to write a set plot down, because then I feel constrained, and then I can’t think of anything, I feel trapped in my own head.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I like the excel spreadsheet as well. You can always move chapters around like like the cards but you can run your finder down the list and tell what is out of place AND it adds all your daily word count. If you’re interested, I would like to share. ❤

    Liked by 3 people

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