One evening, many, many moons ago, The Man came home after a long day at the office to find that I had turned our dining room into a massive storyboard. All three walls were covered with the plot of Part Two of Second Nature, all scribbled onto color-coded index cards and post-it notes with clever headings such as "James Does Something" or "Cate On A Boat."
It looked like this:
"Terrific," The Man said first. Then later, he added, "That reminds me of Trello."
"I don't know what Trello is, but it sounds like orc mischief to me," I replied, never being one to waste an opportunity to make an obscure Lord of the Rings reference.
The Man took this as an invitation to explain to me what Trello was. Granted, I wasn't paying the closest attention in the world because the explanation started off as Trello being some online way to organize and manage projects. He was using it at his office (The Man is a software developer) for some purpose, and all I heard was, "it's a new-fangled thing designed to eliminate paper and pens."
I love paper and pens. I love index cards and post-it notes. While I tolerate it to some small extent, I do not love technology. I do not love change. I do not even like change, and getting me to change how I do something is akin to pulling teeth, or lifting Mjölnir if one is not Thor.
|On an unrelated note, how excited is everyone for this movie?|
It's pretty damn near impossible.
"Are you telling me I have to take the storyboard down?" I asked afterward because, again, I hadn't really been listening.
"No, of course not," The Man answered wisely.
But I went to Trello and played around with it, mostly to appease The Man who thought (perhaps rightfully) that I never listened to anything he said, but I never had any actual intention of using it because I had a big, beautiful board on the dining room walls.
Fast forward a few months to the day the realtor insisted that I take down the big, beautiful storyboard because it was too personal an item and would turn off perspective buyers (Note: I hate perspective buyers. They are whiny and annoying, and if I didn't need one of them to buy my house, there would be no reason not to run them through with my broad sword).
That was the day I turned completely to Trello. Well, after I'd finished throwing my very understandable tantrum.
On Trello, you create boards that can serve any purpose. I have boards for Effigy and Second Nature on which I keep track of whatever needs to be done for that particular project (i.e, complete editing for a specific chapter, or touch base with betas, or email the cover artist, or find a cover artist...whatever). In addition, I have storyboards for Parts Two and Three (Lineage and Reckoning, respectively) of Second Nature. My main Trello screen now looks like this:
A WIP board looks something like this:
With this detail inside of it:
And if you looked at the Lineage board—the true storyboard in all of this—here's what you'd see:
Which, I have to admit, does share a strong resemblance to the board with which I started. Each list contains the scenes that should be in that chapter. Find out that you need to move a scene to a new chapter? It's just click and drag. Need to reorder the scenes in a chapter? Just click and drag. Realize you need to add a new scene to the chapter? Just click on "Add a card." Need to add a whole new chapter? Just click on "Add a list." (You can't see that in the above picture, but it's there. Trust me. Look again at the Second Nature board two pictures up and you'll see it.)
It's easy. Really easy. (Unlike me obtaining these screen shots. I've had to ask The Man for an embarrassing amount of help with that.)
And the functionality doesn't end there, folks. Within each card, you can do multiple things. For example:
While I have used the Due Date option, I personally love to use the label function. On my dining room storyboard, a pink post-it meant the scene was incomplete. Other color post-its meant things like, "This might need to move" or "Maybe just delete entirely." Trello allows you to do something similar, and customize the labels to whatever you want them to be:
So you can see that that particular scene in Chapter 29 hasn't been finished yet, and I think I might need to move it to a different point in the chapter or the book.
You can also leave yourself notes or comments:
You can create as many boards as you want. You can make as many notes about all of the cards on those boards as you'd like. You can upload pictures of characters or locations or maps or cover art or dogs playing poker. You can also share boards with other people (great for collabs!) and keep other boards private. You can use Trello on your desktop computer, or your laptop, or your tablet. They have apps available for iPhone and iPad, Android, Kindle Fire, and Windows 8. (probably other things, too) I recently installed Trello on my iPad, and I have actually used it on that device.
You can do all of these things without an excess of wall space, or scotch tape, or killing trees, or getting high on marker fumes (Not that I have ever done that..).
And it's free. Let me say that again: It's FREE. (Which leaves you more money for more markers. You know, the good kind that smells like cherries and grapes...Not that I have ever done that, either...)
Yes, there is a pay edition ("Trello Gold") that, for $45 per year, will give the user more functionality and fun, according to the website, but I don't know anything about that edition. All I know is that the free edition has more than suited my purposes—so much so that I've almost gotten to the point where I could almost consider forgiving the realtor for making me take down the paper version. (Sorry, realtor lady. I like grudges just about as much as I like paper.)
It's a nifty tool, and I have to give The Man props. He was right about this. It has helped me out immensely (and maybe it could help you out, too.).
Just...don't tell him I said so.