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DevonThink 3 versus Tinderbox versus VooDooPad

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Posted by Amontillado
Dec 2, 2019 at 02:28 PM


Drewster wrote:
I’d love to see a video. I’m desperate for resources about
>how others use Curio.

Tools don’t do the work for you, but if you’ve spent your days truing planks with chisels, a jack plane can change your life.

Curio’s features have suggested a new-to-me outlining technique. I accept that it is likely old hat to everyone else.

I find it helpful to create this kind of outline as a new section (or subsection) in Curio. That focuses Curio’s Organizer on just the outline I’m working on.

Consider the Organizer (a thing like Scrivener’s Binder) and the idea space (the document) to be the panes of a two-pane outliner. Consider the entry at each level not to be a stepwise increment in the story events, but rather a state-of-the-story snapshot for a particular act, chapter, or scene.

So far, I’m using pinboard objects in the idea space. Text figures, each containing one short sentence or two, describe some little aspect. The pinboards categorize the notes. Things that happen, stuff a character wants, weather patterns in Baltimore, whatever captures elements of that region of the story. If you built a diorama for that point in the story, what would you see?

The completed outline amounts to a stack of corkboards, like a stack of CAT scan slices of the story. You could do the same thing with a series of Scapple files, or tabs in a Numbers file using the sheets as corkboards.

This appears to preserve flexibility when writing the first draft without the danger of running off the rails.

I have a notion it’s impossible to write without outlining in some form. Some writers create that outline in the form of 50,000 words of long form prose requiring lots of fixups. Others write 3,000 words in a Harvard format outline and have a second draft complete in about the time the first writer completes his “outline.”

But the problem, for me, of a Harvard outline is that my stories devolve into “this happened, this happened, then this other thing happened before the survivors lived happily ever after.”

I’m cautiously optimistic this stack of dioramas will work.

The same thing could be done with OmniOutliner, Word, org-mode, or pencil and paper, and it could look like a Harvard outline from a distance. In that physical outline format, I have to avoid stepwise pedantry in the outline.

Curio and pinboards may help encourage me away from telling details in the outline.

Imagine a Curio Organizer entry, “The day I’ll die.” One pinboard on that idea space is for what characters did, and might contain “Drove my Chevy to the levee.” The pinboard for the good ol’ boys would say “Drinking whiskey and rye.” The weather conditions pinboard might include an observation the drought was unbroken, and the levee was dry.

Now, when if I were to write such genius, I’d have the freedom to embellish the story as I wrote it.

Or, as the preacher in Blazing Saddles so colorfully said, maybe I’m wasting my time. But, hey, at least I’m on the pilgrim’s path, searching for hope with both hands and a flashlight. I might turn up something.