10 March 2011


I've read two posts on plotting recently, the first by Chuck Wendig and the second by Angela Perry.  Both of them are fantastic and have inspired me to revamp my plotting style.

I've always been a plotter, but it has been in the form of a shabby outline and more often than not, it's all done in my head.  I've always liked leaving things in my head for a while to stew before getting it down on the page.  That all has changed in the past week.

Rupert is finished, and by finished I really mean not even close.  I've changed the beginning a bit and have a lot of work still to do on the ending.  It certainly is exciting though to have a whole book put together!  Anyways, I'm going on vacation in three weeks and am going to use those weeks in two different ways.
1. I'm going to keep editing Rupert, and
2. Plotting!

I've had a novel sitting in my noggin since high school and recently it has been itching to get onto the page.  I tentatively began plotting this novel a few weeks ago but really didn't want to get into it before Rupert was done.  After reading Angela's post on plotting, I decided to plot more...and more...and now I have many many pages of plotting done.  It's exciting!  I've decided to use my vacation in three weeks to use the plotting I've done and write as much as I can of this other novel.  It will be a vacation from Rupert!  haha.

Here is what I have figured out I like to do when plotting:
1. I draw a map.  This is one of my favorite things to do when I am beginning to world build.  My maps begin by pencil and are slowly filled in with colored pencils, the more I figure out what the world looks like.

2. I write a one page, quick overview of the major events.  This will be expanded and filled in later.

3. I write a list of characters filed into two colums- if they are major or minor characters.  After this, I take the major characters and put them into a chart.  In it I include their motivation (abstract), goal (concrete), two values that conflict, their main conflict, and the change that occurs in them.  This is something I have taken from Angela.

4. I write an outline, including chapter titles.  I love making up chapter titles.  Under the titles I write, and highlight, the characters who are introduced in the chapter.  I try to write about a half a page of what I want to happen- character dilemma's, how the main characters are evolving, conflicts that are resolved and conflicts that are created, etc.  I also write questions here that I need to still find answers to.  Snippets of conversation get stuck here also.

5. Something else I have taken from Angela is writing from each characters point of view, even the minor characters.  I did this and ended up discovering unknown aspects to characters personalities and what makes them unique.

6. Lastly, I take a page from J.K.Rowling's book.  She puts together a spreadsheet that contains all important elements and character development that occur through out the novel.  I love doing this because everything gets stuck in one easy place to refer to.  This isn't always the easiest part of plotting for me, but when I finish I feel very accomplished.

Those are the main pieces for plotting I have fallen in love with.  What are your habits for plotting?


  1. That's a lot of info you've given out. I do some of those things myself. Plotting in advance is something I've only begun doing myself lately, but it seems to help. I just try to remain very flexible about the plot, because many stories tend to find their own plots as they evolve. So it's a mixture. Hey, I like your blog. Very nice.

  2. I definitely agree with you, Richard. Plots seem to have a life of their own as you start actually getting the story onto the page. Great advice!