I’m a pantser. I have tried outlines in the past, but it has never gone well, and I’ve always had more luck writing the first draft without them.
However, I’ve started using outlines for revision. It helps me figure out what scenes from the first draft aren’t needed, which ones are in the wrong places, and the balance of the events. When Scrivener for Windows introduced their beta, I found that the index card view organized things in a way that worked for me.
I’ve started using my iPad for brainstorming and plotting, however. Partly because it’s a new toy, and partly because I can think about the items and interact with them in a different way. When I decided I was going to use it for outlining, I went looking for the right app, and discovered the perfect one: Index Card (cost $4.99).
The app lets you create multiple different projects, and displays the cards as if they’re on a bulletin board. You can give them different colour labels and even write on the back (you have to open the card to flip it over). You can also drag and drop them in different places quickly, which makes it easy to reorganize events while you’re still trying to hammer them out.
According to the instructions, you can also export your projects for use with Scrivener 2.0, but it looks like Windows users will have to wait for a bit. But moving the information from the iPad to your computer is made easier through use of Dropbox, which I also love.
This is still a new toy, but I can see it becoming a permanent part of my process. It might even make the revision step a little easier, and every little step helps 🙂