Writer’s Notebook: Plot Chart

Today I am working on plot. Knowing the plot twists ahead of time keeps the writing focused. I can add events that lead up to these plot twists, including clues.  I don’t want anything to be too obvious, but I don’t want events to come out of the blue. I need a way to keep track of these ideas I have. I could write them down in a bulleted list, which I probably will do, but I need something I can scan quickly. It occurred to me to make a plot chart.  I can fill it in as I need to. I can also see how the twists affect the different characters.

Plot Chart
The character’s name comes first. I have what they when they are introduced. Then I have a bit of backstory. Next up is the relationship with a member of the protagonist’s family. Last is their goal for the act. This is my first stab at this kind of chart. It surely will change.


I will do this kind of chart for the various acts in my script. I think this would also work for a novelist. You could get into greater detail, such as listing how each event helps the character achieve her goal or how it hinders her. You could also list the other obstacles. This is just an overview chart.

What do you do to keep track of your plot ideas? Do you create a chart, write things down on an index card, or use special software? If you have any comments or tips I would love to know them.

Thank you,
Sara Jo


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