I so desperately wanted to make the right/write pun in the title, but I resisted. I’ve seen a lot of different plotting techniques on Pinterest and I couldn’t decide what was right for me (again the pun…). I’ve seen everything from plot boards to book binders to idea webs, but my first mistake was trying to do them all. Don’t get me wrong, doing a bunch of different plotting techniques may work for some, but it tends to get really confusing for most. I try to use a couple in different stages of planning. Here’s a few different techniques to help with your plotting.
The first technique I saw a lot of people suggesting was outlining. I think outlining didn’t grasp my attention at first was because I’d been forced to do outlines for school and I hated it. The more I started to outline for my stories, the more I actually found it helpful. Outlines tend to be for writer’s that are all about organization, but keep in mind that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. It’s for those who need or want to add more detail and it will essentially make writing your story easier overall.
2. Plot Boarding
For those of you who aren’t familiar with plot boarding, it usually involves one of those tri-fold cardboard display boards and some sticky notes. Each section of the board represents either Act I, II, or III. You stick the post it notes that have different parts of your story on them in their respective acts. I think plot boards are for the writers that work best with visuals. It gives you the space and the freedom to move scenes around. It can also help you keep track of characters and sub plots (different colored sticky notes).
3. Scene List
I use the scene list all the time even though I find it less structured than the outline. It’s for those writer, like me who can work with a bit of untidiness. This is better for those writers that just need to write things out sometimes. I typically use it as an extreme rough draft of an outline. I don’t always put it in order so I take what I write in my scene list and put it in an outline. I see scene lists as the gateway of plotting, it’s better for me to write everything out before I put it in order.
4. Book Binder
The book binder is for the extreme planner and is basically the holy grail of your book. All of the information you need is in one place. Outline, character list, scene list and so much more. I’ve wanted to do a book binder for my novel, but I just haven’t gotten around to it yet. If want to have everything you need to know about your book all planned out then I’d definitely suggest the book binder. I’ll put some links below that will show how to make one.
5. Idea Map
Idea maps are definitely for the visual writer, if you like to see things before you write then this is for you. I used to idea maps in elementary school, but I don’t remember doing them anytime after. I’m not that much of a visual person when it comes to writing so I don’t really do them, but I made a basic one just so you could see what it looked like.
Idea webs could be pretty helpful if you want to keep track of where your story is going, but you can’t easily switch it around like the plot board. However, if you use a computer, changing it shouldn’t be too hard.
I hope you enjoyed some of the techniques here. Some of them are pretty fun to try so if you have the time try a couple and see which ones work for you.