A nice post from the Kill Zone on Visual Writing tools. Nancy Cohen says:
Many of us use visual tools when we write: collages about the main character or setting, plotting diagrams, charts, timelines, and photos.
I use the following:
I use this primarily for research notes, but also to track submissions. I stay to keywords as much as possible, which was a hard thing to do at first. I also try to draw pictures (not very well, I’m afraid) to represent subjects. The different branches are color-coded.
Not the way Nancy describes it though. During the revision, I use either a Gantt-style timeline or a climbing timeline to work out the order of my scenes. It gives me an immediate, overall impression of the entire story. The exception is the Desert Storm novel I also have in the works. Because it’s based on historical events, I had to do one before I did anything else. The story will have to fit in with those events.
I’m finding a map helps me to make sure I know where everything is. It can also identify key plot points or motivations. I did a map for Miasma by taking an outline of Rhonde Island and using PowerPoint’s free form tool to trace it. Then I just altered some of the points (I did not spend that much time on it!) to adjust the shape. Then a dot to mark the various places. My maps generally need to be simple, so I can focus on what I need and not on all the other elements on it.
These have been apparently turning up in schools — wish I’d had them when I was in school. They represent the information visually to help with recall. I’ve been experimenting with them to help develop conflict and represent setting.
What do you use?
I had 664 words on Miasma last night.