Plotting Board 1.0

So this year, as I get back into more serious writing, I continue to experiment with my method. Yes, I’m probably looking for the perfect fit that lets me produce the best books I can, and I thought I’d share my latest experiment. ๐Ÿ˜‰ 

This is my first plotting board, aka Plotting Board 1.0. Now, I’m not exactly either a plotter or a pantser, but instead something in between, and I think my board reflects this. You may note that in some places, I have cards denoting either a scene idea or a plot point – and lots of mostly blank cards. ๐Ÿ˜‰ And no, the two different colours don’t denote anything specific other than the fact that I ran out of yellow cards. ๐Ÿ˜‰ 

I used to work all the time with index cards, and when I got into plots / multiple subplots, I found the whole card thing ungainly to work with (ie: 5 billion cards later).  But, this is my new way of looking at it, at least to try and understand the initial story concept. 

Actually, as I was working through it, I think for the next book what I’ll do is start with the basic plot points and from there add / subtract sticky notes for specific story notes, especially when it comes to the first draft and I’m still trying to figure things out. You can probably see from this picture that I started doing that here too. And eventually the other blank cards will be fleshed out with either direct writing or more likely, more sticky notes. 

I have heard of and seen boards that break the acts into further sequences, but for me (who tends to like writing everything down in somewhat random places) so far, I think that this method is a good place to start. 

So, what do you think? Have you ever used a plotting board and if so, have any suggestions / ideas you’d like to share? 

Thanks for stopping by, and wishing you a terrific week and happy writing. ๐Ÿ™‚  







2 responses to “Plotting Board 1.0”

  1. Helena Korin Avatar
    Helena Korin

    Hi Shelly
    I was very glad to see your post about plotting-boards. I too am somewhere between a plotter and a pantser – but lean more towards plotting. But, I’ve never come up with a good visual approach. I did take
    a great on-line course from Laurie Schnebly Campbell last spring called
    “Plotting via motivation” which really resonated with me but I still need
    a way to do an overview. So I think I’ll get out some cards but hm…wonder if I can find a big enough cork board?

    1. S.C. Chalmers Avatar

      Hi Helen! Thanks for stopping by. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m leaning more toward plotting, just because I want to reduce the number of drafts otherwise necessary. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      My board is a foamcore tri-fold, the kind kids use for science fair projects. I got it from Dollartree, though Michaels has slightly larger ones (albeit not as cheap.) ๐Ÿ˜‰ This replaces my giant, ungainly paper version which I had to lay out on the floor – not exactly practical. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Thanks for the instructor name! I’m an admitted sucker for trying new methods. My cards are a synthesis of James Scott Bell’s 14 plot points and Larry Brook’s “Story Physics.”

      Best of luck with your own plotting board. ๐Ÿ™‚