I know, I know, it’s Wednesday afternoon not Tuesday morning. Like the White Rabbit, I’m late, I’m late, I’m late. Truth be told, I was distracted with some revisions and by the time I was done it was close to 10:00 PM. What’s my excuse for not posting earlier today? An upcoming project and a bunch of phone-calls related to this project.

So, moving right along …

Had I known that mapping out a story would help with plotting and making new discoveries about my characters, I would have done this years ago. On that note, if you find yourself stuck—map it out. You don’t need to get fancy and techy as I did. A piece of paper and some colored pens and highlighters are all you need. Once your map is drawn, you’ll be amazed at the new plot twists that organically come up and that are logical. Of course those new ideas were probably deep in your subconscious, but mapping out brings them up to the surface for you to see them in plain black and white (or in various pretty colors).

Today’s lesson focuses on prototypes, which is a note with a unique property. In other words, in the case of a novel, characters, locations, plot devices can be prototypes.

Here’s a note the heed: before you create your cast of characters, create the prototype first. It will save you a heap of time when you group your notes.

To create a prototype go to the menu bar, select Note=>Create Note. The Create Note window will open. For this example, we’ll name the note location. In “Function as” check the box that says “Prototype.”

Prototype Screenshot 1

If you want to assign it a color, click on “Color” and drop menu will appear with a list of colors. Next to the color box, you’ll see that you can play around with the color shade. Once you’ve selected the color, hit “OK.”

Prototype 2

If you want to give the prototype note an icon, click on the “+” and select one from the drop down menu. In this example, I’ve selected the house icon (it’s labeled as work, but it makes sense to use it as a location).

Prototype 3

Now here comes the fun part. As you can see, I put my character prototypes in what’s called an adornment, which is a label that you can add to the background of a map view to help organize the map.

Character Adornment

To create an adornment, go to the menu bar, click on Note=> Create Adornment. Name it, in this case I labeled it as NYC Locales; select the text color and the background color. And now for the fun part. In the OnAdd Action box type: $Prototype=“location”.

Prototype 4

You can adjust the size, placement, color, and text color of an adornment. In this case, the adornment serves to label numerous locales in a map view that appear in the novel. Create a few notes and then drag them into the adornment. Voila! They’ve automatically been turned into prototypes. In the example below, you’ll see that I have two adornments. One is the Legend and the other is NYC Locales.

Prototype 5

And this what the entire map looks like at the moment:


And there you have it. Next week, we’ll cover Agents.