I’m Embarrassed to Leave Out My Plot Planner

HowtoPlotWhen a writer comes up with a new story idea, I recommend you do 2 things:

  1. Start writing
  2. Set up a Plot Planner and begin plotting how the story ends

Start Writing

Start writing so you capture all the excitement and passion and promise that comes with undertaking a new creative project. Until you write all the way to the end you don’t really know what your story is all about. Might as well get started writing right away.

Create a Plot Planner

At the same time, set up a Plot Planner. Writers benefit from a visual representation of the plot / structure of your stories. Think of a plot planner as an outline on its side. Use a pre-plot board as a place to pin up your ideas beyond the beginning. When you can, include the 3 essential plots as they rise and fall together – 1) Dramatic Action and 2) Character Emotional Development create 3) Thematic Significance. When you begin planning your plot, your Plot Planner is likely sketchy with lots of gaps and dead-ends, but these will be smoothed over and filled in as you come to know your story and characters better. So, what if you do all that — you start writing and set up a Plot Planner — and then you find “I’m embarrassed to leave out my plot planner”?

Embarrassed to Leave Out Your Plot Planner?

I’m not surprised. The beginning of any creative venture is a fragile thing. Become too analytical, critical, show too many people, get too much input, and the initial inspiration quickly fades away, explodes, disappears, dulls, dims, dies… You know the brilliance that awaits in your imagination. You also know you haven’t quite grasped it, understand it yourself completely, conveyed it yet. So you find people you slip and tell need convincing. Why give your precious energy and enthusiasm to defend yourself, your story, your ideas? For now, simply write and plot. 


Story Potential 

Finally, you do fully grasp the brilliance of your story. Perhaps it’s taken you writing all the way to the end. Perhaps it takes several drafts. Maybe you needed to complete a massive revision first. You’ve found a way to convey the story’s potential that works for you and you’re no longer embarrassment to leave out your plot planner. You’re proud of your vision. You’re confident of your story and your right to write it your way. Now, you’re ready to proudly leave out your Plot Planner.
Seeing the plot planner for your individual story hanging in your office, the kitchen, the garage, the bathroom:
  • reminds you that you’re a writer
  • inspires you to plan and plot ahead of where you are currently writing
  • points out the different parts of your story
  • calls you back to your writing
  • invites you to dig deeper