Sunday, May 5, 2013

Finding my Plotting Method

I am an organizational freak and a cleaning mad woman. (Just ask my boyfriend!) So when it comes to organization while writing, you can imagine I’m a bit particular, which may be an understatement. Once upon a time, I made an attempt at being a pantser. (Pantsers fly by the seat of their pants and tend to write without planning, for those of you who may not be familiar with the term.) This didn’t work for me. Too often I lost track of the plot line or went off on an unnecessary, unexpected tangent. Ultimately I would get so frustrated and disgruntled that I had to take a step back from the story, whether that was for an hour, a day or even longer.

So I’ve become a plotter. (Also known as a planner.) However, it took me a while to figure out *cough* happen upon luckily *cough* the plotting method that works best for me. I tried the snowflake method, organizing my scenes in extensive Excel sheets and I even bought poster board in hopes I could come up with some sort of plotting diagram. (I couldn’t.) I’ve read books and blog posts on the topic. I even just tried writing it out, one paragraph for each chapter. (But that was almost a novella in itself.) I needed a method that would allow me to view the entire plot on one page for easy access while still being detailed and thorough enough to make sense.

The prospect of finding a method like this seemed far-fetched and nearly improbable. So imagine my pleasant surprise when a potential method turned up in a YA Stands blog post a few weeks ago. They posted about the 9 Step Method for Plotting Fiction which they discovered on Query Tracker, who borrowed the idea as well. (Apparently its origins are unknown.)  Nine steps to a structured plot that will fit on one page (preferably 8.5x11 or larger) and includes guidance as to how the plot should be organized?! I swooned.

Even though I wanted to dive right in to see if this was the method for me, I took my time with it. The instructions call for a tic-tac-toe board-like diagram, except with words inside the boxes instead of X’s and O’s. It gives names to each step and connects the boxes so the plot is one cohesive story. (Luckily my story fits this plot structure, but I can see how it wouldn’t work for all novels.) So far, it’s working for me. *crosses fingers* Hopefully this will remain true.

(Yay, green post-its!)

No comments:

Post a Comment