What I Actually Use for Plot Design

An Apple Orchard

Most of the time when I write a novel I put together a folder for that novel in Google Drive. There are four documents I put in that folder (there may be more, but those four I create right away).

There is the Plot Document. I have a very, very simple template. There is the title, a one paragraph synopsis, the first plot point (about a quarter in), the midpoint, the second plot point (three-quarters in), and the climax. I write a few words about each point. Typically I leave the actual scenes out and just work to those points with my prose. In addition, I have a story outline, which is a very high-level document where I write down the basic idea of the novel, a character outline where I write out all of the major characters, some of the minor characters and interesting side characters that I thought up and want to include (I’m considering having a portfolio of side characters that I just slot into stories when they make sense because I can… I often think up people that don’t belong to a certain story and it would be nice to have them as something I can pull out and include). Finally, I have a structure outline, sort of a grand overview of what kind of structure this story is. Is it a chase story? A heist? What beats do I really want to hit here?

So, that’s my plotting, the bare minimum I have in place before I write a novel. I also often have a snippets document. Scenes I like that fit the story more or less but don’t have a place in the narrative. I may or may not use them, but I’d rather have them and not use them than lose them. Once I use them I erase them from the snippets doc. Any that are left over may fit another story as well, so I might repurpose them at a later date.

Liked it? Take a second to support logic11 on Patreon!
Share

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *