When I first started writing, I didn’t have a clear process. I didn’t plot, I didn’t do character questionnaires, I didn’t use a timeline.
Times have changed since I first began writing Nephilim in 2013. I still don’t do character questionnaires, I still don’t use a timeline, but I do (sort of) plot.
Today I’m going to talk through my standard plotting process, which at the moment is always subject to change. Maybe it’s because I get bored with doing it one way. Maybe it’s because I haven’t found the right way. I always find a way to muddle through though.
I’m a bit of a cross between a planner and a pantser. I would love to be able to write a 10,000 word synopsis detailling every inch of my plot but I’m not that patient.
Instead I use a mix of three different plotting methods- 60 scenes, the 3 acts structure and chapter by chapter.
I plot first using the 3 act structure from K.M Weiland. This helps me figure out the main plot points, where I need to raise the tension and where I need to bring it down. I use Scrivener for this, (I use Scrivener for everything,) and colour code to differentiate between acts one, two and three.
After that, I use the 60 scenes method to fill in the gaps between those scenes. I’ll add smaller plot points and sub plots here, and colour code depending on what scenes contain what points. This way, I can see how much of the story is focused on character, main plot, sub plot, info dumps and antagonists. I’ll change the plot depending on how balanced the colours are. I’ll do this on post it notes first, so I can play around with the order, then transfer to Scrivener once I’m happy.
Then I’ll use the 60 scenes to plot chapter by chapter, writing a small synopsis so I know roughly what I need to write. This will change as I write the actual story, because I don’t always tend to stick to what I have plotted.
Sometimes this process works, and sometimes it doesn’t. It depends how well I’ve thought through my story in the first place. But it get’s me writing, as long as I plan ahead and for now, that’s all I need.
How do you plot your novel, if at all?
Good thoughts and happy writing