Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Plotting a Story with Post-it Notes

If there's anything guaranteed to raise a groan in one of my writing workshops it's whenever I mention plotting.

Plotting is hard.

Plotting makes you want to tear your hair out, hit the delete button and boil your head.

In short, trying to find the perfect plot often causes writers to lose the plot.

So much so, that this weekend, I ran an entire workshop on the subject.

And I wanted to share one of the exercises I taught here, as I've found it invaluable when I'm in the early stages of plotting a novel.

All you will need are some post-it notes and a few sheets of A4 paper.

Stick the paper up on your wall, or lay it out on the desk or floor in front of you.

Then, take your post-it notes and start jotting down as many ideas as you can for your new plot - one per post-it note.

Major plot points
Random lines
Potential twists and turns

Write them all down, one per post-it note, then stick them randomly all over your A4 sheets of paper.

Some 'Post-It Plotting' from Saturday's Workshop

Once you've written down as many ideas as you can think of - and please don't censor yourself; write them all down no matter how 'silly' they might seem - sit or stand back and take a good look at what you've created.

Then start moving the notes round into some kind of chronological order.

Discard any that you feel certain won't work.

Add to any that you feel certain will.

See your plot beginning to take shape.

Don't be afraid to get messy with it.

You're only writing on post-it notes - it doesn't matter if you get something wrong.

Enjoy chopping and changing and sculpting your plot.

And when you are ready, begin to write.

The next Dare to Write workshop is on Tuesday 6th May in Berkhamsted. For more info, step this way...

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