Sometimes you’re just lost. You want to plot your novel but you have no idea how! You don’t know if you’re doing it right, if everything you have written will add up, if your plot will actually have to carry the main characters to their goals. This is why it is very important to have clear goals and clear plots that have to be resolved. But how to plot your novel?
I have designed a very simple but effective plot document that helps you plot your novel or story by deviding it up in chapters, scenes, goals etc.
You just fill out the document with the story you already have stuck in your head and fill in the blancs as you write.
Let’s go through the document together so I can explain.
1. There are no right and no wrong ways on how to do this. You are your own boss. I’m not going to tell me of you’re doing it right or wrong. You can always send me your plot documents for some tips but I’m not a teacher with a big red ballpoint pen.
2. Print it or keep it on your computer, just do what you feel best with. Some people feel better when they have an actual piece of paper in their hands. I’m one of them. It shouldn’t matter if you print this plot helper or not, as long as you keep building your plot and keep penning down little blurbs and ideas.
3. Keep it fun, don’t beat yourself up. Plotting your story initially can take hours or even days. This is not a sprint, it’s a marathon!
In the chapter box you just write the name of the chapter. This will help you devide your novel into small digestible bits.
It’s important to devide your story up into scenes. This way you can track your plot and goals, it’s easier to resolve problems in your consistency and you’ll find it easier to write since you’re practically writing from point A to point B and C. Just give the scene a small description e.g. Mary meets cousin Matthew Crawley. This is very important when plotting your novel.
How does the scene start? What’s the opening sequence. What is happening?
E.g. Mary is having tea with her father.
How to plot your novel when there is conflict? What drives your scene, what is happening that will keep it going. Is there a conflict, are people talking or is there something of importance happening that may change people’s views. Do keep in mind that conflicts do not always have to be seen in a negative way. Just give a bit of information about what is happening in this scene.
E.g. Matthew arrives at Downton Abbey. Matthew has dinner with the whole Crawley family. Mary does not like him at all and shows this.
What are the goals of this scene. Where does it end and what do you want to have established in this scene. What do you want to reader to know or what do you want them to feel?
E.G. Matthew does not feel at home. Mary shows him she’ll fight for the title. Readers feel they hate eachother.
Write down what characters are involved in what scenes. This way you can just use the ctrl+f buttons to single out certain characters. Even if characters are mentioned you can put them in there. I just do it with a Cousin Cora ( mentioned ).
Is this scene a draft? Yes? No? You will probably not have to put a Yes into this box untill your novel has been finished.
How many times have you edited this part? For perfectionists like me this is quite an important box since we lose track of what scenes we have read and reread.
This way all of our stories get the same amount of care and polish.
How happy are you with this scene? Give it a score between 1 and 10 ( no 0, they are depressing and will not help you in any way ). This way you can single out scenes you think need more work or are badly written so you won’t lose any time and effort in rereading well-written parts.
Plotcreator ( download the plot creator by clicking on that link )
I hope you enjoyed this article on how to plot your novel. Drop a line if there’s something you’d change or if you’d just like to have a talk!
Books to help you on your way