In my previous post I suggested using the smiling, frowning, and horrified faces to identify good, bad, and ugly ideas in the mind map. Another thought is to use them to show pacing at a glance. A smiling face could indicate that things are going well for the protagonist, a sad face could denote minor trouble or portend bigger trouble, and a horrified face could mark those chapters or scenes in which disaster strikes. Of course, most of the timeline should be marked with frowning and horrified faces, with a few happy visages to break things up and give the character (and reader) some relief. A quick mark-up of the early map for Children of the Ice looks like this:
Until I get .svg support working, we’ll have to resort to zooming in:
But trying to use the smiley, sad, or oh-my-god-it’s-the-end-of-the-world faces to indicate pacing in a time-line of more than an handful of lines quickly turns into a list of faces that are indistinguishable until zoomed in. I still like being able to see the pacing of the whole tale at a glance, so how else can we do it? How about color?
Okay, it shows up better full-size on even a fifteen-inch monitor than it does here. Here’s a close-up:
An advantage to using colors rather than expressions is the number of levels that can be expressed, although really not many colors can be distinguished against a white background. Oh for the good old days thirty-five or more years ago of four or sixteen colors against a black background.
Anyway, I think I’ll use the color code for a while (kind of like the terror alert color codes – okay, maybe a bad analog) and see how it works for me. If you have other ideas, please share.