I’m currently in the middle of developing a script up in my second story home office and I thought it might be informative to share a bit of the plot outlining phase of my pre-draft process.

What you see here is my day bed taken over by my project.  What’s obviously apparent is that I still like to use the old index card method of laying out the scenes–playing with how to structure the telling of my tale. 

I’ve laid out the three acts, with the white cards the A plot and the blue cards the B plot.  I find working with actual cards like this allows me to get a tactile feel for the developing story and I can add, remove, and shuffle scenes with ease.  When I’m working on Act 3 for example, I have acts 1 and 2 instantly available at a glance and I can actually see and feel the emerging structure of the whole script right there in front of me and make adjustments as needed.  There are digital software versions for doing this of course, but this simple visual method still works best for me.

The only drawback is that for the duration of my plot outlining, I have to find somewhere else to take my short afternoon naps.

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I’m the Program Director of the low-residency MFA in Writing for Stage and Screen being offered by the New Hampshire Institute of Art.  Our last residency ran from June 22 to July 1 and we’re current considering applications for starting the program next January at our residency scheduled for January 5-14, 2018.  If you’re interested in finding out more about our program, email me at buzzmclaughlin@gmail.com and we can start a dialogue.

I’m also a playwright and screenwriter, producing partner in my production company Either/Or Films (The Sensation of Sight and Only Daughter) a professional script consultant, and the author of The Playwright’s Process.  You can follow me on Twitter @eitherorfilms or @mfastagescreen.  I’m also on Facebook at buzzmclaughlinscriptconsulting.