Plot Board and Plot Board and Plot Board

I’ve seen a lot of folks coming to my blog looking for plotting board advice in the last few days, and I’ve also seen a lot of blogs directing people here, or otherwise commenting on the method.

Some are snarky, “Make sure you put on your sunglasses!” (I think referring to the fact that post it notes tend to come in neon colors?), some are skeptical, and some are supportive.

The methodology of creating a plotting board is probably one of my most frequent of frequently asked questions. I’ve answered many of them on this blog. I’m thinking of doing a big, be-all, end-all plot board post and then putting it up on my sidebar, but that will have to wait until after this week, because I’m on deadline.

But again, to answer the most common questions:

1. Different squares are for different scenes.
2. Different color Post its (and so far, folks, I’ve only seen them in neon) are for different plot threads.
3. I do this AFTER I’ve written, to help me with revisions.
4. Really, I don’t do it before. How will I know what plot thread any particular scene will touch upon before I’ve written it?
5. No, I do not see that (#4) as mutually exclusive with plotting in advance.
6. The main reason I do it is to see if I’ve been neglecting particular plot threads.
7. No, it might not work for you, and that’s okay too.

Posted in plot board, writing advice

4 Responses to Plot Board and Plot Board and Plot Board

  1. Patrick, The Space Lord says:

    Re: 7.

    We’re going to have to have the Committee For Absolutes In Writing review your proposal that Post-its MUST be used for writing every novel hence forth by Every writer.

    If not approved, you must cease and desist.

    Or the Turtle of Doom will be released to do its wanton destruction.

  2. Amanda says:

    I’ve actually posted about your storyboarding blog along with all the other ones I found. More as a way to mark them for myself and my other newby friends. I tried it when I reached a point that I needed to rethink the plot of my book. It helped a lot. I’m glad you posted about the storyboards and how you craft your novel. I think it’s very useful to the rest of us. So…thanks.


  3. Barratt Miller says:

    Physical plot-boarding didn’t quite work for me, but Mac program Scrivener has a really awesome plot-board function that transformed my plotting process.

  4. Roger says:

    Just stumbled across your site (apologies for being so late!), looking for notes and ideas on what I’ve been calling up until now “puzzle boards”. Just for the heck of it, stuck in “plot board” and bingo, there you were 🙂 Excellent advice, many thanks 🙂

    Barrett mentioned Scrivener. Nice idea, but shame there doesn’t appear top be a Windows / Windows mobile version of it, or even of something similar 🙁

    I’m currently using a smallish cork board and 5×3 index cards, different colours for things like plot ideas (white), problems to be overcome (yellow), equipment (pink, as black ink is difficult to read on a red background!), character notes (light green), and in-plot logistical/transport issues (light blue). I tend to follow the who-what-when-where-how-why problem-solving approach, but what the heck, any approach that works, right?

    Oh, and Patrick – is the Turtle of Doom related to the Drunken Teddy Bear of the Apocalypse? 😉