Friday, March 4, 2016

Juggling Plot Plans for a Novel - Part 1

by Elva Cobb Martin 

I am now plotting my third book. Have you honed your method of plotting a new book or are you still juggling thoughts and methods to organize them? 

Here is a list of some plotting plans I've explored. I used parts of more than one to plot my books and these work for those who write by the seat of the pants or those who love outlining.

1) Authors Boot Camp Manuel from Seekerville blog
2) Snowflake method by Randy Ingermanson
3) Carolyn Greene, The Plot Doctor, "Prescription for Plotting"
4) MaryLu Tyndall’s method

1) The detailed Authors Boot Camp Manual can be found at
    There are tons of links compiled for every aspect of plotting and writing a book!
     And its all free—the best articles from some of the best authors. 

2) The Snowflake Method by Randy Ingermanson. Find 10 detailed steps at:
Randy, a former software architect, lists 10 Steps that he compares to a snowflake in building a novel. He has a software program on it and a detailed book you can purchase here Grab your copy here on Amazon. (Kindle or paper)

   Here are the first 4 steps briefly which he covers in detail on his site and in his book.
      Step 1 - Take an hour and write a one sentence summary of your novel idea. This will be your fast pitch to editors and agents.
       Ex. “A rogue physicist travels back in time to kill the Apostle Paul.”
      Step 2 - Take another hour and expand that sentence into a full paragraph describing the  story setup, 3 major disasters, and the ending.
      Step 3 – Characters: Write a one-page summary for each character telling their name, their storyline, their motivation, goal, conflict, and epiphany (Details on site and in book)
       Step 4 – Expand each sentence in your paragraph summary into a full paragraph each. The final paragraph should tell how the book ends.

3) Carolyn Green, the Plot Doctor "Prescription for Plotting"  This is a great workbook full of plotting information and forms to fill in. This has been a great help to me. Unfortunately, I don't seem to be able to find a web site for this
workbook, but you can google her name and find some information about her.
Cross and Cutlass

4)  MaryLu Tyndall’s basic method: (Start with research)
  1) Do detailed main        character sketches, add photos and index cards with basics
           2) Write synopsis of basic story line
           3) Write the first draft down fast in creative mode. No                   editing or research details. Get the main plot points                     down. 
           4) Rewrite/expand adding the polish: research details,                    sharpen deep point of view, 5 senses,more conflict,                  end each chapter with cliff hanger. 
           5) Edit for final draft
           6) She keeps three docs to pull up in computer:
                   a)Chapter by Chapter summary which she puts                           together with the first draft
                   b) A To-Remember Doc which list things she                                needs to keep track of like how long was                                  someone married, or deceased. What battles                            they fought in. What year did their brother,                              mother, or dad die, etc.
                      c) Add-in Doc – lists all the extra ideas that she                            comes up with while doing other stuff that                                 she wants to add in later.
           MaryLu's writing advice has been a real help to me.
                Find her great Writing Tips at her site                 

Don't miss Part 2 when I'll share how I am plotting my work in progress, using a mixture of the above methods.

How do you plot your books? Hope this information has helped you choose a method if you don't have one. Do leave a comment and share this blog.

Blessings on your plotting!
Elva Cobb Martin