How to write: plot board defined

How to write: plot board defined

We’ve made the plot board, now let’s figure out how to use it…

But first, did you enjoy the video on how to make a plot board? I have to say, I am not very video-able, but as a good friend told me, just be yourself. I think I accomplished that, if nothing else. And if you are late to this party, you can go here using this link to go back and read all the prior posts on how to write.

Another of you commented and said, what do I do with this thing now? Good question! Sorry I didn’t cover it on the video, but it is worth another post.

So today, lovelies, we are going to discuss what the plot board can do for us, and how to use it (sort of-because as always, writing is rather individual).

How do I use a plot board?

First of all, let’s go back and look at all of those sequences. Despite my inability to add properly (please watch video!) – there are 8 sequences in the three act structure. The first act has 2, the second act has 4, and the third act has 2.

In the first act, the two sequences are where we introduce the character(s)in their ordinary world, issue a problem – also known as an adventure, have the hero refuse to go on the adventure, give them a mentor to advise them on why the adventure/problem has to be considered, and show them (always reluctantly) committing to the problem-solving situation at hand. In the end of this rather short 50 (script-writing) pages, we show them taking the bit in their teeth and going into the adventure resolved to finish the task. I am not sure how many written pages for a book this turns out to be, but if you consider that most screenplays lack descriptive passages, it could be a bit more in page count. I always figure I am on target if I get the first act pretty much down by the end of the third chapter, fourth at most. I can always edit it back to the first three chapters during second draft.

For our purposes of using the plot board, if I tell you what to put in the first set of sequences, you will sort of know what to do for the whole thing so here goes…and please bear in mind, you do NOT have to do your plotting this way.

how to write books
Act One Sequence One

    Act One: Sequence One


Place one color of post its in this square to designate main characters and mentors, or hero and heroine (for romance). For the main plotline (in our blog book it is about three women who find out they can do something that was once thought couldn’t be done) write out a line or two about each character. For example, I wrote out on a yellow post it “Susan Whiting wants to be independent” on a pink one I wrote “Cindy Mason wants to learn about the food industry” and on a green one I wrote “Brenda Houston wants to be successful” and on a blue one I wrote out “Thomas Davidson has diabetes”. This shows who the character is by name and story problem. I am not sure who the mentor character is going to be. It may be many different people since this story has more than one main character. And also, in the small square of this sequence, the one I said was for the conflict, I put a sticky for each character’s conflict. Susan married the wrong man. Cindy can’t make money at her blog. Brenda hates working two jobs. Thomas can’t get enough exercise.

I think this stuff can and does change as the story goes, so you really don’t have to be too perfect with it.

    Act One: Sequence two


The post it in this sequence is the problem expounded on. I am not here yet, so do not have examples for you…but think, what is the thing the character needs to do the most and how can I make them NOT want to do it? And finally in the conflict area, what is going to make them do it? What will send them off on their adventure?

I hope this helped. Next post…Chapter three and a contest!

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About master

Kim Smith is the author of Disk of Death, The Dread Room, Love Inn, and An Unexpected Performance.

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