Product Review: Fabula Deck
If you're a writer on social media, no doubt you've been solicited by ads promising to teach you a secret but proven and a surefire method to write a successful novel. I'll save you the time and the $29.99 it costs to learn this ancient wisdom.
Here is the method: sit down and write. Daily, if you can. That's the secret.
There are no shortcuts or formulas, and certainly no method to churning out a 90k word manuscript without putting in the time and doing the work. (Buying a cursed Necronomicon on eBay and raising a demon to help you write totally does not count, by the way. It's still cheating.)
While there may be no ways to avoid doing the work, there are some great products and tools out there that might help you do the work more efficiently. The Fabula Deck is one I found really useful.
Whether you're a pantser or a plotter, it's good to keep critical moments of your story in mind. That's what I think Fabula Deck does quite wonderfully. It's a deck of 42 cards that, when placed in order, help you keep track of all the pieces that make up your story.
Fabula Deck follows the classic Hero's Journey model, which, believe it or not, is very easy to bend to your story (and most stories) without much effort. How you use the deck is up to you, but the pack comes with a great tutorial on its use as designed.
I did not follow the directions.
I laid the cards out and made minor notes on index cards under each stage of the journey. It helped me keep the destination of my WIP clearly in mind and really forced me to answer difficult questions upfront before getting lost in a hundred pages of side-story.
The deck also includes "Asset" cards, like "Allies" and "Sub-plot", as well as cards for the Reader's Journey, which I think is incredibly useful. As writers, we often forget in the doing that ultimately our work is for our readers. These are meant to be used in the editing stage and can be very valuable in making sure your story didn't go off the rails in a flaming heap.
Just putting the cards up on my wall in order helps me keep a logical progression to my story, even if I don't know all the details about every step. But knowing where the step is only half of the equation for me. How we get there is what makes writing fun for me.
Check out Fabula Deck and see if it's a tool you can add to your arsenal. No, it won't make you a better writer in 30 days, but it may keep your story on track and help you break it down into manageable steps; which, I guess, will make you a better writer after all. (More efficient, at the very least.)
I absolutely love the deck and have used it intensively during the writing of my fourth novel. I'm a very hands-on kind of writer, and while I know there is plenty of software out there that does what Fabula Deck does (and more), my brain works much better with tactile stimulation. I don't have to switch between screens, copy, paste, etc. All I have to do is look up, and there it is—my story's journey from A to Z.
See you on the other side.