Last week we focused on using basic plotting techniques to help organize scenes that were random and unconnected, like a hand full of beads. If you missed last week's post, you can find it here. What if you're done drafting, though? Does that mean you have no more use for plotting techniques?
Writers often use note cards to block out scenes. For me the note card technique worked well after I finished my second draft. I combined the information from a mapping workshop, taught by Katie L. Caroll (Elixer Bound) and a workshop on non-sequential writing by Lynda Mullaly Hunt. (One for the Murphys, Fish in a Tree) to come up with a note card that served my purpose for revision.
- Use one card per scene. Give a scene heading and a temporary number.
- If you have multiple narrators, write down the POV.
- Note the setting of the scene.
- Jot down the main moment/ event/ quote from that scene.
- What is the purpose of this scene. Does it develop plot or character?
- What kind of scene is it? Action, back story, mood, flashback, character development, inciting incident, tension building, climatic scenes? What is the emotional intensity of this scene?
- Which characters are present in the scene? I color code my characters so it is easy to track them.
- The number at the top is added much later once you are happy with the final order of your scenes.
Many authors have a treasure trove of plot development strategies on their websites. Don’t feel overwhelmed by them. Take these plotting devices and adapt them to work for you and your process. And it is a process! Use some before you start, some during drafting, and some during revisions until all your scenes are perfectly placed like beads on a string.