Alrighty, so there are plenty of articles about how to plot a story. I’ve read a lot of those. A lot. I’m still learning, and I will continue to learn to make the story the best it can be.
However, what are some other steps we as writers can take to take the story further?
For one, like I said, I’ve read several articles and books on craft and taken advise from there and made it my own. Applied it and in some cases I did see a lot of progress and in others it didn’t really made a difference. It wasn’t ‘bad’ advice it just didn’t really change or improve my process. So for those other times I’ve completely tossed some of that advice because it wasn’t working for my story. That’s not to say it won’t work for yours.
Take what you like and apply it. Every project is different.
I’m a very visual person. A story usually comes in images rather than words which is nice but a trap all in itself. Why? Because I end up with more words than I’d like or need.
I’m using Scapple to get a visual of the entire story. I’ve seen authors do this when they’re drafting and that seems to work for some. But I feel more comfortable having something to work with i.e. my story is finished so now I want to make a visual of it. Because…why not?
I began to use a software called Scapple (brought to you by the same people that make Scrivener). Scapple is a mind mapping tool that is pretty neat, no clutter, to the point. It’s also very affordable and no need to pay monthly like several other mind mapping apps.
I think you can also mind map on a word document too.
This is the skeleton template for how I’m going to map out the who, where, what, how, and why’s of my ms.
Please note that there is no one way to map. Breaking things down really helps me understand how something is working and how it’s not.
Currently, the acts are disconnected from each other, so they are easier to manage and move around if I need to.
Having a key is important. It will help have some sort of organization while you’re moving and connecting bubbles.
Setting up your acts and then break them down by chapter.
ACT I (SET UP)
ACT II (CONFLICT)
ACT III (RESOLUTION)
Each chapter will have its cast of characters, places, motivations, conflict, world things to notice, and foreshadowing. Remember to break it down, but be careful to not list things that have no impact on the story as a whole.
I recommend working on one act a day if possible.
This exercise has helped me to SEE all the moving parts of my ms. I can get a visual on who’s where, what’s happening, conflicts and motivations. Oh and foreshadowing. Since this world is far bigger than I expected when I started I do need a foreshadowing bubble for that purpose.
Hopefully one day I can show you guys the complete mindmap.
Let me know how you plot or if there are suggestions you think might help!