August 1, 2011 Jill

Working on season 2 of Ruby Skye P.I. I have discovered a new writing tool which I adore!

It’s an app for the iPad called Index Card and that’s pretty much what it is. It’s a terrific tool for breaking story with a really pleasing interface. From the second I started using it, I felt as if it was going to revolutionize the way I write. It might not be as significant a change as when I made the move from type writer to word processor… but close.

The Haunted Library — Season 2 of Ruby Skye P.I. — is a structural nightmare.

Breaking a mystery can be complicated. You have to track the villain’s story, the clues and the detective’s progress. The Haunted Library has three mystery story lines running through it. Plus a non-mystery sub-plot. Using Index Card, I beat out each of these threads on a series of cards each with its own colour.

I like to have big cliff-hanger endings at the end of every episode which means 11 cliff-hangers to track plus a satisfying episode ending. 12 more cards, again, colour-coded.

But wait, why make it easy on myself? I can include in every episode clues for the audience to solve. 12 more cards. These ones in pink.

Using Index Card I beat out all the plot lines, cliff-hangers and clues separately, coding them with colour. The app lets you move cards around, so once I had all the elements and was sure each story had all the necessary beats, I could move them around mingling the stories and working them into twelve episodes.

Once that was done, I pretty much has a treatment. And Index Card has a treatment or outline view that allows you to look at your project as a text and work on it that way as well

Index Card exports to Scrivener which I had never used before and downloaded just because of Index Card. It’s another interesting way to write and I’ll continue playing with it. The interface between the programs isn’t perfect… or at least I haven’t figured it out yet. Scrivener doesn’t seem to recognize projects initiated in Index Card. You might have to start the project in Scrivener and export to Index Card in order to be able to re-import with all the data. I’m not sure and if anyone wants to come over and teach me to do it, I’d really appreciate it.

But the big point is that what I really want to do is break more story because working with Index Card makes it so easy and fun! I highly recommend that you grab it for your iPad today.

By the way, Index Card is free.

Comment (1)

  1. Ioa

    There are two ways to work with Index Card and Scrivener. If you have started the project in Index Card, then the easiest way to get that material into Scrivener is to simply drag and drop the .indexcard file into the project Binder. That’s it.

    If you want to continue keeping that imported material in sync, then what you’ll want to do is select all of the cards that imported, click the Collections button in the toolbar, and then the `+` button that appears. Call that Index Card or something, and now you can use that as your sync collection with the main `File/Sync/with Index Card for iPad`.

Comments are closed.