Covered in Sticky Notes


I’m midway through the second book, Shock Wave, in the Culture Shock Series. I used a linear outline (like the ones you learned how to make in high school) to create the plot. Pretty solid, I thought, but could use some tweaking. So I kept trying to think of alternatives to the plot to really pack the drama punch, so when I hosted a ladies night, I decided to pose my dilemma to a group of friends with an abundance of imagination.

We argued and brainstormed on a few topics and passed around ideas of the direction I wanted the book to go. The slew of ideas kept coming. Each new idea opened up the floodgates to a bucket load of more ideas. 

What am I to do?

I tried fitting the notes I took from our ideas into a typical linear outline, but it was just too confusing. So I tried another approach, one used in the movie-making business, storyboarding.

Instead of using boards or notecards, I used sticky notes (post-its). I wrote each scene or major event on a certain color (blue, in my case) sticky note. After filling out a bajillion of those with brief one-liners to explain the scenes, I started filling out orange (couldn’t help it, I’m a huge Florida Gator’s fan) sticky notes with names for the emotions Macy Holmes, the main character, will experience throughout the plot. At the end of creating the scenes, I was covered in sticky notes.

I stuck the blues on one side and the oranges on the other side of my bedroom wall (it totally clashes with my d├ęcor, but whatever) and started assembling my plot. I was able to finagle the plot and move scenes around to see where they fit best—where to create drama and where to cool it down, etc. It helped maintain focus and organization. I was able to see the plot taking shape. Since most of it is written already, I did some nipping, tucking, adding and elaborating to make the story cohesive.


I’m a visual person so putting the scenes of the plot on sticky notes helped me visualize the story and see it clearly. 

After finishing her degree in Sociology from the University of Florida, Jeanette Pekala had no idea what she wanted to do with her life.

While her husband was deployed overseas, she focused on what she loved to do, write, where she has finally found an outlet for her overactive imagination.
 She lives a not so normal life just a wee bit north of Bougainvillea where she resides with her husband and two children working on Shock Wave, book 2 in the Culture Shock Series.



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