Corkboards are very much an American thing. As a British writer I’ve tended to find them a bit unintuitive. But the Scrivener corkboard’s grown on me a lot over the years. And now, in the
both Mac and Windows version s, there’s a wonderful feature that adds a lot more power to the idea for brainstorming and outlining.
In short… you can break away from the rigid outline structure, think outside the box, then go back to your scene order, or create a new one, very easily.
This is the opening of The Killing in the usual Corkboard view.
The card text comes from the synopsis for each scene. The colour in the corner represents a label (in this case the A, B and C storylines of the narrative). The order is fixed to the linear order of the scenes in the narrative structure by the side. If I move one card to a different place, so the scene moves too. This is the way most of us use the Corkboard I imagine. But head off down to the foot of the screen and look at this control.
This lets you switch from an ordered structured view to a freeform one that looks like this.
The cards are just the same. But now you can move them around freely and the order won’t change in the Binder. What’s this for? The obvious use for me is to play with different storyline threads. Line up A to the left, B in the middle and C on the right for example. Let them overlap, shuffle them around, do anything you want. It really doesn’t matter. Click on the ordered Corkboard icon again and you’re back to the standard view and the order in the Binder is retained.
And if you want your new freeform scene structure to be applied to the scenes in the Binder? Just click on ‘Commit Order’.
I’m sure there are lots of other uses for this too. But brainstorming story threads is the obvious one for me — and what I’m doing with it at the moment. If you can think of others feel free to add them here as comments.