Friday, October 19, 2007


Just wanted to respond here on the main page to Suzy's question about plotting. And you knew I would have to answer that open question hah?
I like to plan my timeline with spreadsheets. One event per cell, then I can rearrange them by copy and paste etc. I often use this for a tricky scenes where I want the timing exact (well shouldn't they all) but sometimes you need to see it in black and white.
Re plotting in tables - this is where I do most of my work with plots. I start by putting in the characters and their personality/profiles interview results or important relationships next to them. Then I will do a separate one for my outline. I use this for the duration of writing my novel. I put chapters down left hand side, next column is for headline for that chapter eg Sarah intro and the POV used (in this case Sarah POV), the next column I put each main detail for that chapter on separate lines, next I have my wordcount which I add to as I proceed. In the extended details I can rearrange to suit as I feel the story changes as it sometimes does. Main thing is I put the conflict here and bold it. So I can see at a glance where my weaker chapters are. Of course also I can add or subtract a chapter's details POV by inserting columns or rows whatever. It also helps with synopsis and that dreaded fear of what do I write next. The outline give you an idea of when to say what!!!
I was interested to see Jenny Crusie's theory of sectioning novels into four with main conflict in each section. I can see this would translate nicely into the way I plot too.
I am keen to hear how others do their planning if they aren't pansters of course!
I also use a spreadsheet to keep track of my word count. I especially use this during BIAW but also for my novel. Can you tell I like it organised??
Regards Annie


Sandie Hudson said...

Hi Annie

I can't believe it I miss a day of checking your blog and look what happens.

Anyway I think you are so clever, spreadsheet and all, me I have found recently that other then doing a basic layout of plot etc. I just have to go with the flow and let my characters guide me. Now as you know this is my first MS so this may all come back to bit me on the butt, but so far it seems to be working.

I do compile extensive Charater Profiles though and interviews which helps me to get to know the character better. I have been surprised with some of the answers they give.


Vega Stone said...

Annie, thanks for answering my question. I guess using spreadsheets and tables is similar to using a corkboard and post it notes, but much more portable.

I think I'm a plotter. I like to see the big picture first and then get closer and closer to the details to see how they fit. I have been using plain ol' word document maps and scribbles on bits of paper that I attach to my corkboard. I can see the value in keeping track of timelines and plots the way you've described.