Vladimir Nabokov's index cards

from: http://nymag.com/guides/fallpreview/2009/books/58476/

"The legendarily meticulous Nabokov spent a couple of fertile decades filling index cards with careful paragraphs, which he then revised and shuffled into complete novels. When he died, he left one last batch: 138 cards, a partial draft. After some Pale Fire–worthy jockeying (a request that they be destroyed after his death, popular calls to publish them, 30 years in a Swiss vault), those cards will now be published. It’s a unique chance to see the perfectionist in imperfection."


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I wonder if the publication will include an introduction explaining how they decided what order to put them in.


publication after death

And there's a good lesson in that story - if you want something to be destroyed after your death and never seen, don't count on that wish being carried out. Destroy it before you die or it may just end up published and read by millions.

Reminds me of Tribbles

In a nonfiction book, "The Trouble with Tribbles", David Gerrold describes a similar method for intertwining the multiple plots in the ST:TOS episode of the same name where he plots out scenes on index cards and then shuffles them together to get the appropriate order of scenes to move both plot lines along.
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

David Gerrold and Index Cards

I believe he teaches that method at a university in California. I couldn't do it though. I can't outline, so index cards would be pretty worthless to me.

Linda Adams

Another Author Did This

Milorad Pavic wrote a few books that invited the reader to read pages and chapters in or out of order. In "The Dictionary of the Khazars," he composed three different books from a Christian, Jewish, and Muslim point of view. One reads the book from start to finish; or one reads different entries on the same subject in different books. In "Landscape Painted with Tea," there is a crossword puzzle with clues numbered across and down. One uses the crossword puzzle to decide in what order to read the chapters, which are titled across or down. In "Last Love in Constantinople," one deals cards from a tarot deck to to decide the order of reading the chapters, which are titled according to names of cards in the deck.