The Big Picture

My Writer’s Wall is adapted from the Story Structure Grid described by Hedy Czu in her writing guide, Before you Write a Word: Designing Your Novel.  She says, “What the musical score is to music, the story structure grid and its container are to writing.  The grid and its container hold over fifty elements critical to the composition of the novel, elements all too easy to forget while in the grip of inspiration, or of writer’s block.”

The Writer’s Wall above, does not show all the elements of her Story Structure Grid, but it gives a general outline.  Rather than overwhelm you with alot of details, I will provide the elements that fit within the boxes a bit at a time. 

Czu firmly advocates for the use of visuals such as this while developing the novel.  Visuals let the writer see the big picture and to stay on track, whereas staring at a computer screen only shows you a small piece of your project.

I made my Writer’s Wall using foldable foam poster board, electrical tape and sticky labels.  Czu says that even a large piece of cardboard will do.  I wanted to make mine as stable and durable as possible, so that it can be re-used.  The idea is to brainstorm on file cards or post-its (she suggests coloured ones), and place your ideas within the appropriate category on the grid.  This brings some organization to the project.  For my purposes, after this novel is complete, I can remove the notes from where I’ve placed them and re-use my grid for another story.

Do you or would you use a writer’s wall for your novel?  Or does it take away some of the creativity of writing?  Let me know what you think ….

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