Thursday, May 28, 2009

Storyboards and Freedom Trains

What I'm reading: The Scarecrow, by Michael Connelly

Reminder: There's still time left to win a grab-bag full of goodies in my May contest. Details here

My submission for a free read at Cerridwen Press was officially accepted last night. It's nice to have something in the hopper again. Only hassle is all the paperwork. They haven't revised their boilerplate from the one they use for their full-length paid books, so half the nice check boxes aren't appropriate, and they don't have the ones you need. Lots of improvising.

In addition, I decided to drag out the white foam core board I'd stashed behind the futon and see if I could stimulate a little brain activity on my newest WIP while my crit group continues to work on my revisions of STARTING OVER. I'm trying the PJ Parrish suggestion of just writing scenes you think you can use in the book and sticking them onto the board. I have two boards; one for the little Post-its with things like scenes and plot points, and then another one I made a couple of years ago, marked off into blocks for chapters. But I only used it after I'd already written the chapters.

We'll see what happens this time. It's as close to plotting as I've come yet. The post-it system might be a good way for me to figure out my family trees – I've got at least 3 generations to deal with.

I also got a quick kick of motivation when a distant relative posted an article about the Leica Freedom Train to our family group. I'm not a history buff, so this was totally new to me.

Keep Reading...

The Leica is the pioneer 35mm camera. It is a German product - precise, minimalist, and utterly efficient. Behind its worldwide acceptance as a creative tool was a family-owned, socially oriented firm that, during the Nazi era, acted with uncommon grace, generosity and modesty. E. Leitz Inc., designer and manufacturer of Germany's most famous photographic product, saved its Jews.

And Ernst Leitz II, the steely-eyed Protestant patriarch who headed the closely held firm as the Holocaust loomed across Europe, acted in such a way as to earn the title, "The photography industry's Schindler."

As soon as Adolf Hitler was named chancellor of Germany in 1933, Ernst Leitz II began receiving frantic calls from Jewish associates, asking for his help in getting them and their families out of the country. As Christians, Leitz and his family were immune to Nazi Germany's Nuremberg laws, which restricted the movement of Jews and limited their professional activities.

To help his Jewish workers and colleagues, Leitz quietly established what has become known among historians of the Holocaust as "the Leica Freedom Train," a covert means of allowing Jews to leave Germany in the guise of Leitz employees being assigned overseas.

You can read more here:

I know that the back story of several of the characters playing around in my head includes World War II, and this gave me some good ideas to work with.

Be sure to check in tomorrow for my regular Friday feature, a chapter from Detective Mark Hussey's manuscript. For the record – I do NOT write these. Detective Hussey is a real, live law enforcement officer who has a knack for storytelling. I'm merely the messenger.


Sam said...

I hope you'll post about your experience with the post-it note method. For my current WIP, I'm using Microsoft OneNote to jot down notes about the plot and then drag them around. It's not quite the same thing since I can't easily apply color coding to my notes, but so far it has been helping.

Terry Odell said...

Sam - I'll be sure to follow up. Right now, I'm still at the little sticky phase. I like that I don't have to keep toggling between documents, and I can pick up the story board and work on it away from the computer. If an idea hits, I can scribble it down and slap it on my board.

Also, Barbara Parker used this method to keep track of her clues and threads. If she mentioned a gun, for example, she'd put it on a sticky note and move it from chapter to chapter until it was dealt with, at which point she'd throw it away.

Technology is great, but I don't like to rely on anything 100%. This method seems to be giving me a new way of thinking about the WIP. And it has me working again!

You can update me on OneNote--I've heard about it but the learning curve for any technology is much steeper for me than scribbling on post-its.

Patricia Stoltey said...

I like your sticky note idea, Terry. If I ever get my bulletin board hung up, I plan to use 3x5 cards. For now, it's the old sequential story plan written in Word.


Terry Odell said...

Patricia; I'm liking the portablilty of the foam core boards. I don't have wall space for a bulletin board.

The 3x5 card system works well, even without a bulletin board. Deb Dixon said she sits in her rocking chair and just writes scene ideas on 3x5 cards.

I've been having fun with my post-its. I'm sure the novelty will wear off and I'll be looking for more inspiration.

Sam said...

OneNote is very easy to learn. It's relatively intuitive and the default notebook has a section full of tips. I use it for almost all my note-taking at work, and at home I make use of it for a variety of tasks in addition to writing.

Of course, I back up obsessively and store copies of everything in multiple locations!