Friday, October 18, 2013

How Do I Plot My Stories?

Let me count the ways.

1. I use Scrivener, and line up the notecards neatly.

2. I handwrite things on index cards and shuffle them around as needed.

3. I put ideas in list form on blank computer paper.

4. I type out ideas in Microsoft word.

5. I talk to myself out loud when I'm driving.

6. I pester my husband and tell him my plot while he's watching TV.

7. I use sticky notes. Real or on the computer.

So one of my writer friends mentioned that she feels like she should know "how" she plots stories on the book she's working on now, which is her seventh. And it got me thinking. I don't think I ever plot two stories the same way. I don't even plot one the same way all the way through.

ADD? What? Hey, look, there's something shiny!

Haha. Yeah. Okay, I'm back. Anyway, I can't decide if this plotting-technique-jumping is good or bad. On one hand, I'm never bored with how I plot. On the other, it'd be so fun to have a system, you know? I'm all about systems. Maybe to an unhealthy degree. =)

I'm still thinking.

How about y'all? Do you plot every story the same? What works for you? Are you one of those people who will write as many books as Gilbert Morris (anyone read the House of Winslow series back in the day?) and plot them all the same way? Or do you think you'll always like variety in your plotting techniques?


  1. I still haven't found a plotting process that helps me all that much. I want to plot because I feel like my writing would improve if I learned how, but I just have to find something that works. Haha. If I ever found a method that worked, I'd probably stick with it every time.

  2. I don't that one could give my method of plotting a title. I think up a working title, have a general idea of my characters and where I am going, and then invent along the way! It has pretty much always worked for me.

  3. How did you know I have been thinking and researching this lately!? For my first book, the only plotting I did was keeping a Notes page in my phone for rogue facts about my characters I didn't want to get away. For my second, I scribbled facts and ideas for scenes in a notebook...and then ACFW happened and I have been revising #1, so I'm looking for plotting ideas to create some semblance of order and move it forward! And if that works, I may even plot #3 from scratch, though I still maintain I'm incapable of that :)

  4. For the one and only so far, I've got a running document with a timeline/order of events. Plus loads of notes. It grew into much larger document over time. With lots of revisions. (I recently started fresh with a revised time line, too. Oy.)

    My "future projects" have little blurbs of my ideas so I don't forget where I plan to go, one has a small synopsis to tell me my bigger plan (like 2 pages), and the WIP that's in the wings right now (while I go back and revise the first one yet AGAIN) has...uh...well, it's needy. Yeah. Been working on making that stronger. So there. LOL.