Index cards

ace of wandsWho has used index cards when plotting/planning a book or story? I never have before, but I did find 4 packs of “brand new” (aka still in their cellophane) 6″ x 4″ index cards, 2 of plain white and 2 of assorted colours. (See how old they are? They’re not even metric.)

I’m starting the first of 3 x 4,000-word short stories for a 14-story anthology and the first is loosely based around the Ace of Wands. So I sat down with my Tarot deck, my Collins Little Gem of Zodiac, my old faithful Guinness Book of Names and my Tarot Bible.

And the first card I drew was … the Ace of Wands … What’re the odds?

I shuffled the cards and drew the first of 4 cards I wanted to base my characters against, and the first card out was … the Page of Wands.

I do a yes/no/maybe spread too and when I checked whether or not this was the next small project for me, I received 3 resounding YESES, one after the other, including my own personal favourite HELL, YES the Nine of Cups – the other two were majors, so quite strong, and they fell out of the pack, which is doubly strong …

I’m listening to my Tarot and doing this. After all, this is what the Ace of Wands is all about – follow your instinct and JUST DO IT! (And don’t panic, I am ensuring I’m not taking on too much as well, which is what the Ace of Wands also warns against.)

So yesterday, my writing 2 hours were spent planning this story and starting the characters. Theme and narrative are currently on white cards, characters are on yellow cards … but I haven’t decided how to use the green, pink or blue yet.

So, how do others use their index cards? Don’t forget I’m a longhand worker/writer so anything I can easily carry with me and still work on in a power cut (when batteries have died) or with no power is always a bonus. Please use the comments box for this one, thanks.

Please note: This version of the Ace of Wands is apparently from  the original deck and out of copyright. Later versions and amendments are copyright protected. If anyone knows how I can get permission to reproduce the cards, please let me know. If I’m contravening any copyright laws by reproducing this card, I’ll take it down immediately. But as I’d like to use them – or an artist’s impression of them – in future, I’d like to get permission. Please use the contact form for this one rather than the comments box. Thank you.

(Yes, the FBI have arrived in Baggins Bottom before as they treat this subject very seriously.)

6 thoughts on “Index cards

  1. Carol Warham 3 January 2013 / 3:59 pm

    THat’s really interesting. I’ve never experienced Tarot or anything similar. As for index cards, I was just considering whether to use them or excel for a timeline/info chart. As my ‘novel’ grows I need to keep info somewhere. I never thought I would get mixed up on names or timelines but I am. Good luck with the writing.


    • Diane 3 January 2013 / 4:04 pm

      It fascinates me, but has so far never been wrong.

      Maybe we need to experiment with different things and see what works and how it works. I am interested in what works for others, though.

      Good luck to you too. 🙂


  2. Beth Elliott 3 January 2013 / 7:44 pm

    My husband used index cards to write his theses [yup, he wrote two of those] – themes, characters, etc, and pulled out the relevant cards as and when – but he had me to resort them and put them back in the box, time and again… I’m not a fan of index cards, except for bibliographies. I make my notes on A4 sheets [i.e loads about one character or theme all on one page] but if one gets creased or tatty, i write the note out again on a fresh one. *sigh* guess we all have to find our own method


    • Diane 4 January 2013 / 4:41 pm

      Yes, filing them and sorting them is an extra chore, isn’t it?


  3. Jackie Sayle 4 January 2013 / 1:48 am

    Index cards are okay but I prefer exploding balloon diagrams. Index cards are good for keeping info for later reference, i.e. if you are intending to write more about the place/characters.


    • Diane 4 January 2013 / 4:42 pm

      Balloons and bubbles do my bulb in, actually. The left brain doesn’t like them at all.


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