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How to Make Sure Your Plot Flows

If you’re wondering where I am in my novel, I’m smack dab center of making sure my plot flows. Here’s how I do that:

  • If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know I use Excel to organize my thinking. Each scene starts as a row. Then, I add rows for each activity in that scene and divide my scenes with big red lines (I use the border tool) so it looks something like this:

Use Excel to plot your novel

  • Right now, I’m making sure all the plot elements flow from one to the other, that each is followed up on at the right time(s)
  • There is one more column, to the right of the picture, where I add all the plot bits and pieces that must be tied down before the story ends
  • Soon (I’m aiming for next week), I’ll check each scene’s opening. They act like chapter openings and must grab the reader, set up the next activity. I want to make sure they’re exciting.
  • After that, I’ll check the close to each scene, or chapter. We all know those have to be scintillating enough to make readers turn the page and read ‘just one more chapter’ before they put the book down.

Where are you in your novel? Are you still plotting?

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5 thoughts on “How to Make Sure Your Plot Flows

  1. Hi! My novel is being copyedited in the pre-production phase. Release is scheduled for June. So my plotting–at this for this book–is complete.

    Your plotting technique is quite interesting, and each of us finds a methodology that’s comfortable and seems to work for us.

    For me, character development is the first priority because, once the characters come to life, they always tend to drive the plot in directions I hadn’t thought of beforehand. So–again for me–thinking the plot lines through in such finite detail would probably not work because things change too much as the story progresses. But I’m happy that the system is helping you bring your book to l life, and I’m sure other writers will give your suggestion a try.

    If you have a minute to check out my blog, you’ll find a full documentation of my publishing journey (and theory) as well as tips and links that have proven useful to me and that I share with my readers.

    Good luck to you as your novel unfolds. I’m looking forward to further dialogue with you.

    Cheri

  2. You are so right about the characters. I do a complete bio on each so I get to know them. Then, as you say, they drive the action.

    Hey, Cheri–would you give me the link to where your writing journey begins. I’d like to read it. I’m going to add you to my blogroll. Great stuff!

    j

  3. Hi, Kali! The blog post that launched the Journey for everyone to follow is at: http://cherilaser.wordpress.com/2009/11/04/. You can also find more information on my website: http://www.eWritersRUs.com, and (regarding my first novel) at: http://www.filedby.com/author/cheri_laser/2721580/?r=search.

    Thanks so much for your interest, Kali. I found your site and your talent to be intriguing as well, and I’m looking forward to our following each other.

    All the best,
    Cheri

  4. Hey, Cheri

    Just finished your Journey blogs. Wow. I highly recommend it to anyone starting–or undergoing–the publishing process. Plus, it’s fascinating to read your thoughts.

    Thanks for sharing with us!

  5. Pingback: How’s My Story Going? « Word Dreams…

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