Last Updated on by Michael Brockbank
When looking for a writing app, one of the features I value is being able to add notes and such. Reedsy has added this feature (currently in beta), allowing for greater planning and storyboarding. What can you do with this new addition?
Personally, it would have saved me a lot of time when I started writing my second book in 2021.
Planning the Story in Reedsy with Boards
Although the feature is in beta, Reedsy made sure the boards were easy to use for anyone writing their manuscript. It took me less than five minutes to figure everything out and start creating my own.
So, let’s take a look at some of the things I’ve come across.
Creating an Entire Outline
Currently, there is an example of a book outline when you first open the tool. It’s separated by “Acts” with example notes within each to show you how everything flows together.
As you’re able to create as many notes and folders as you’d like, you can plan out an entire storyline quite easily. And since the planning element is on the left of the Reedsy book editor, it’s easy to access.
Now, I know not every writer outlines his or her book. But this could be incredibly helpful for those of us who at least plan out specific scenes or backstories.
Pin Ideas to the Manuscript
Once you jot down those ideas for your book, you can then pin them to your manuscript. This can be very useful if you’re working on a part of your book and need resources at the ready.
Since the pinned note is shown on the right of your manuscript, it simply saves you time from clicking back and forth.
For instance, I’d probably use this function to keep track of character names and places. After all, I tend to forget a lot, especially when it comes to spelling the name correctly.
Or, perhaps I’ll use one pinned note to keep track of an important plot device that I completely forgot about earlier in the manuscript.
Yes, this has happened…a lot.
Creating a Board or Folder for Ideas
The planning tool in Reedsy is more than just a way to keep notes about your work in progress. You can create a board or use folders for nothing but ideas that you may or may not use.
In fact, I can think of several ways to use the boards outside of just outlining the book.
For example, why not use a board or folder specifically for researching the current manuscript? That way, you can keep everything together in one place.
Able to Move “Notes” Around
Like the chapters in the book editor, you can drag and drop the notes to any section within the Reedsy planning section. This could be useful as you might want a certain scene to happen earlier or later.
Or, perhaps you’re working on the second draft and added an idea that you want to inject somewhere within the current story.
One thing you could do is make notes of your beta reader’s input and move them around to see what makes the most sense.
Another feature of the planning boards in Reedsy is the ability to add images. I’m not sure if I’d use them much myself, but it could be a good way to accentuate certain points.
Even though I doubt I’ll use the image section all that much, I can see how it could be useful. I’ll go into a few ideas in a moment, but I just wanted to point out that you can add them.
9 Ideas for Planning and Using Boards in Reedsy
Although the storyboard and planning section isn’t exploding with features, you can use it in a myriad of ways. In reality, I would have just been happy with a place to add story notes.
However, you could use the new addition for…
Outlining and Planning the Story in Reedsy
Perhaps the main focus of the board section in Reedsy is outlining and planning the story. While not all authors do this, a fairly large portion of us do.
Even if you don’t plot your storyline, you could still use the boards to keep track of ideas you might have while writing. Perhaps after the first draft, you decide to go further into detail regarding a character.
Or, as I said before, you could use it to keep track of input from your beta readers.
Saving Character and Location Details
If you’re like me and take more than a year to write a book, you can easily forget a few details. As I am editing the manuscript for my next book, I am coming across all kinds of things I completely forgot about since starting the storyline.
The notes section in Reedsy gives me a place to keep track of characters, plot devices, and location details that I will surely forget.
This aspect alone would have made initially writing the book so much easier.
Highlighting Plot Points
The last thing you want in any storyline is a slew of plotholes. In my experience, these are often caused by simply forgetting the plot point exists. Or, from a lack of diligence to keep track of the things you want to add further along in the story.
The Reedsy planning section can give you a great place to keep track of all your plot points. And since these notes are directly connected to your story in the Reedsy writing app, they are always available.
Before the planning element was added, I would simply highlight the text in the manuscript and create a note that way. However, the new planning add-on lets me pin the plot point and add more to the description of what I want to expand on as I continue the story.
Linking to Online Research
The planning notes in Reedsy let you create links as you would on a blog. Simply highlight the text, click the link icon, and add the URL. This is very useful for those who conduct a lot of research online.
That way, you don’t have to bookmark the web page and can just link to the source if you need more information.
Of course, you can create links for anything online. Maybe you came across a website that is full of book cover artists and you want to consider one for your manuscript.
Separate Boards for Anthologies
Perhaps you’re interested in writing an anthology. In Reedsy, you could use the planning section to create a separate board for each story in the book.
Case in point, this would have been greatly helpful while I was writing VII. It’s a horror anthology with a bit of a twist at the end, and keeping all of the ideas and boards separate would have saved me an incredible amount of time.
You could also use the boards to separate ideas for individual chapters if you’re not writing an anthology. However, I would probably separate regular chapters by using folders instead of completely separate boards.
Planning Character Arcs in Reedsy
Every great story has a great character arc. Sometimes, taking the time to plan these arcs can make a world of difference compared to just winging it.
How elaborate the arc really depends on the story you’re writing. But Reedsy gives you plenty of space and flexibility to hash out something that works in your manuscript.
The hardest part is making sure the character arc makes sense. Otherwise, you could easily lose your audience. Would they believe that “so-and-so” would do this and that in the end?
As I read through the most recent iteration of my book, I’ve come across several instances of subplots I was going to elaborate on and forgot. Having notes readily available would have helped keep the train on the rails.
This is akin to the point I made earlier about highlighting plot points. In this case, I’m talking about the smaller plots going on in the background that accentuates or complements the story.
In fact, I can think of two off the top of my head that I need to make a note of before I forget again.
Book Marketing Ideas
The planning section in Reedsy can do more for you than just keeping track of plots, character outlines, and research. You could also use it for marketing ideas for that particular book.
For example, you could link out to various eBook platforms you’re curious about trying. Perhaps you have a precise social media strategy for the book, such as using genre-specific hashtags and mentions.
The point is that you can save these marketing ideas in Reedsy for the book without losing them or making new folders in your browser for bookmarks.
Since I like to keep everything in one place and easy to access, I’ll be adding a board in Reedsy specifically for marketing.
Planning the Images in Reedsy
There are a lot of ways you can use the images in the planning section.
For example, you could use Reedsy to keep track of:
- Cover art sketches and artist renditions for the book.
- Maps and other illustrations you may want to include.
- Samples and ideas for picture books.
- Illustrations of characters, plot devices, locations, and more.
It all comes down to how you want to use imagery, especially when it comes to writing certain kinds of eBooks. For instance, tutorials often work better with image representation of steps.
Will You Use Reedsy for Planning Your Next Book?
Although it’s a bit late for me to use the planning section for my most recent book to some degree, I’ll probably use a few notes here and there to flesh the story out before it’s ready to publish.
Overall, it’s a great feature and is one that I am glad Reedsy has added. While it’s currently in beta, I’m looking forward to seeing if and what Reedsy will change by the time they’re done.
What do you use to plan your books? Do you have a traditional notebook and pen, or do you use another app to hammer out ideas?
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