Mapping Out the Story

I’m a big fan of brainstorming on paper. I love the feel of real pencil and paper, because somehow, a piece of paper feels more expansive than even the largest computer or tablet.

A story map

Sometimes, it’s loose, stream-of-consciousness thinking, and at other times, it’s more developed and structured. Both are just ways to break out of that “stuck” feeling that we all go through. Often, these notes are just me writing the story outline over and over again, hoping that I can somehow crack a story problem.

I have sketchbooks filled with notes like this, written on days when I was struggling to get past a creative hurdle or feeling unmotivated. That happens a lot with a project like The Wrong Stripes that spanned a number of years. Each note is like a little pep talk to myself, a little internal nudge asking me to believe in myself and this story. I wish I could reach through one of these notes, like a time machine, and tell myself not to doubt so much, and to just keep going.