Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Plot Control

Whether you are a plotter or a pantser, it can still be a challenge to keep on top of your plot. I am a little bit of both. I start with a concept which is usually a single scene that pops into my mind and then the plot follows. I do an outline and the first scene and go from there adding new ideas to my outline as I go.

But once you have forty plus thousand words in a WIP it can be difficult  to keep that wandering plot in hand. So how do you make sure you have your plot and character arcs, your conflicts and reactions, your disasters and recoveries, unfolding in the way you intended?

Well, one tool I have discovered is Scrivener. I know many of you already use it, and for others it might be a bit of a learning curve. Not everyone will feel comfortable using it. But, Scrivener has taught me something important about how to approach a WIP. The best thing about Scrivener for me is the ability to break a WIP into synopsized parts on a corkboard.

In this way I can see all the scenes in my WIP in a snapshot. I can rearrange sequences and even chapters, I can see my character and plot arcs, I can see my conflicts/obstacles and the reactions and resolutions all in a glance. This allows me to see what is missing, going off track or out of place. I can also add a synopsis for new scenes where they are needed.

If something like Scrivener is not for you, why not try taking a real corkboard, a giant sticky note pad, and write a one or two line synopsis for each chapter (or scene if you are really keen). You can then pin them on your cork board and analyze, rearrange, and make additions and subtractions to your plot in a glance. You can keep it live by updating your sticky notes as you go.

How do you manage your plotting?

photo credit: MyTudut via photopin cc

1 comment: