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How Rebecca Skloot built The Immortal Life of...

Oct 13, 2012
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How Rebecca Skloot built The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks


  I started watching a lot of movies structured like that and eventually found my way to “Hurricane,” about Hurricane Carter, the boxer. As I was watching it, I just freaked out because after the first few scenes I realized, Oh my God, this is the structure of my book. Three narratives braided together, a journey, etc. So I storyboarded that whole movie frame-by-frame on color-coded index cards (one color per narrative thread). I’d already mapped my own book out using the same three-colored index card scheme, and I’d mapped out a structure, but it wasn’t working. After I mapped out “Hurricane” I spread the cards out on a bed and put my book’s index cards on top of them, lining up the colors, to see how the film was braiding differently than I was. I immediately realized the problem with my structure was that it didn’t move around in time fast enough.


Above: her color-coded index cards. Filed under: index cards, storytelling

How Rebecca Skloot built The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

I started watching a lot of movies structured like that and eventually found my way to “Hurricane,” about Hurricane Carter, the boxer. As I was watching it, I just freaked out because after the first few scenes I realized, Oh my God, this is the structure of my book. Three narratives braided together, a journey, etc. So I storyboarded that whole movie frame-by-frame on color-coded index cards (one color per narrative thread). I’d already mapped my own book out using the same three-colored index card scheme, and I’d mapped out a structure, but it wasn’t working. After I mapped out “Hurricane” I spread the cards out on a bed and put my book’s index cards on top of them, lining up the colors, to see how the film was braiding differently than I was. I immediately realized the problem with my structure was that it didn’t move around in time fast enough.

Above: her color-coded index cards. Filed under: index cards, storytelling

82 notes

  1. clonebanana reblogged this from austinkleon and added:
    (via austinkleon) [[MORE]] Also see: Rebecca Skloot Talks About How Fried Green Tomatoes and The Hurricane Helped Her...
  2. markbulmer reblogged this from austinkleon
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  7. michellelegro reblogged this from austinkleon and added:
    THIS. ADVICE.
  8. dasistkeinthema reblogged this from austinkleon and added:
    Inspired.
  9. drear reblogged this from austinkleon
  10. voixdemichele reblogged this from austinkleon
  11. angelaerickson reblogged this from austinkleon and added:
    Awesome!
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