Post It Note Plotting

Going on another detour! This time, however, it’s instructional.

I’ve been asked a few times how I do plot walls. For those not in on this method, it’s pretty simple. I learned about it from Jackson Pearce at a class she taught last year, and honestly, it’s probably the best tool I have for structuring plot (and staying sane).

What you’ll need:

–A large, blank surface
–Super sticky Post It Notes
–One marker
–One pen
For this mini-wall, I decided on eight basic colors…

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and assigned a particular aspect of the story to each color:

dac6d-postits2

The story I’m modelling this off of is A MURDER OF ANGELS. This thing was monstrous–three POVs, a romantic subplot, and an antagonist who bounced around sowing chaos everywhere he went. Here you can see where I’ve portioned out the timeline, chapters, POVs, plot/subplot, and the movement of my primary protagonist and antagonist.

I’ve got this story memorized by now, so I was able to organize the salient points before slapping them up on the wall…

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…with a little bit of guidance to go by as I went. Toss your “index” up somewhere you can check as you write. It’ll help.

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Now, let’s look at the end result:

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This is pretty basic, only four chapters, and only a tiny bit of information on the plot overall! But you can see where I’ve organized the “hidden” aspects of the story–dates, POV, chapters, location, etc. It’s a way to visually reveal what you’re working with.

Have a sad book? Great way to track your sad scenes. Heavy romantic subplot like mine? Good way to check the balance of the romantic subplot versus overall plot. Need to show the finer points of a character arc? Stick it in here! The magic here is being able to see what you’re doing as you write. Think of it as a map–it helps you track where you need to go, and what you need to do to get there.

And when you’re done and ready to build a new one? Your notes are ready to put in a scrapbook! Badaboom, there’s your story bible, neatly organized for your convenience.

Closing note–Write On Con starts in two days! Register quick if you haven’t already–there’s an awesome lineup of ninjas and authors this year. Don’t miss out.

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