To plan, or not to plan.
Is a murder board the answer?
What she really wanted was a murder board.
I was recently chatting with a client about a novel she had been working away at for several months, when she got a sheepish look, and admitted she wanted to make one of those walls of images with pins and strings.
You’d be surprised how many writers want exactly the same thing. Doesn’t matter if they’re writing mystery either. The murder board appeals to all genres, even those that hopefully don’t involve murder, like romance. (Although romantic suspense is a total delight)
The same urge to pin images all over the wall with index cards linking characters grabbed me this month. This wall has me swooning:
Just imagine how many pins and strings could fill that baby!
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What is it about this wall that appeals to us so much? Is there an element of the murder board that applies to writing that we haven’t yet understood? How can pictures and clips and a chaos of string bring us such joy and satisfaction?
We are seeking for the holy grail of writing, which combines three elements:
A way to grasp our entire story without overwhelm
A plan for the book that isn’t too restrictive
Enough structure that we feel confident enough to write on
You see, most of us aren’t strictly plotters or pantsers, writing with no plan at all. Most of us are happiest between these two poles. If I plan too much in advance, I lose the joy of surprise that comes with a looser approach. But if I have no plan, the blank page feels, well, extremely blank.
The murder board has come up often enough recently that I’ve decided to create one of my own. I’m placing an order for a set of cork panels to mount above my writing desk, which is separate from my proper work desk. Once it’s installed, I’ll share it here.
Anyone else use a murder board or other similar visual medium to plan writing? I would LOVE to see yours in the comments below. Please share with us!