In other news, a couple of people asked exactly what I mean by "notecarding." One went so far as to call it a technique, which is a bit generous, but there you have it.
When I am having a hard time figuring out structural or plot of character elements of a book, I get a whole bunch of 3x5 cards and some pretty colored pens, and I sit down and I start writing down everything I don't know. And when I run out of things I do't know, I start writing down things I do know. Or things I suspect. Or things I know I need to get done. Or stuff I know I bitched up. Or things I need to fix. Or things that could be cool if I can work them in. Or plot bits. Or thematic elements. Or tropes. I go through the comments in the MS and look for places I left myself notes. I go through my notebooks and write down things I scribbled at 3 am without my contacts in.
I write down things I put in without knowing what I was going to do with them, and patterns I see, and things that I know I need to handwave or explain or come up with a reason for. I write down things like "figure out WTF Jean thinks he's going to do with Andre" and "fix the stupid motivation thing, give Gourami a reason to do Kroc a favor" and "do more with the endoparent thing" and "it's a bloody planetary romance, Bear, get them out to the countryside" and "Honking big hurricane!" and "Make Andre a bigger asshole, he's too nice for a hitman" and "You started this too late, go back and show us the thing with Lucienne" and "Jean + Lucienne 4evR" (no, really, I wrote that) and "Why is nobody in this book married???" and "thematic issue of identity--show how everybody is a funhouse version of somebody else" and "reality skins: make your boss oink like a piggy!" and "yo yo yo issue of value of consciousness yo!" and "Cory was right, name a character after him" and "this subplot does not integrate, cut it or give it a reason to live" and "okay, what is the thing that Lucienne knows that means she has to be killed" and so on.
I don't pay any attention to whether they make sense. I just write them down.
And when I have written all these things down, I look at them, and I write more things. And so on.
And eventually, a chunk of book or a structural revelation drops into my head, and I write it down.
This is different from the notecarding process I do at the end of the book. Whereby, when I have broken things as far as they can possible be broken and I have no idea how to fix them, I get the notecards and I write down, one to a notecard, what things need to be resolved to get to the end of the book. Sometimes they are things like "blow up Toronto" and sometimes they are things like "Min-xue needs to pick a side." And then I put them in a logical order, and when there is a break, I invent some logical developments that lead from one to the next.
And when I have a sort of crude outline, I write the end of the book. Well, the climax, and most of the end. I invariably have the denouement written already by that point. Denouement, I get when the book is a third of the way done.
No, I don't know why. But that's when my brain tells me how the story ends.
Someday, I am going to publish a chapbook of all the sex scenes I've cut out of things. It will be nothing but pages and pages of in-character smut.
I should probably wait until the various books are published, though. Since it would by nature be sort of spoilery.
Because you see, I have this problem. If the sex scene is any kind of personal or a relationship transition, I have to write it to know how the characters are going to deal with each other afterwards. But sometimes, it doesn't belong in the book. (I have no problem with including smut, but I only have space for smut that works for a living. If it's not doing something vital, out it comes. Er. So to speak.)
And some of these suckers are like fifty pages long.
It's all the bloody dialogue.
...probably piss off the fanfic writers to no end, though. *g*