RB: Plotting, The Bane Of My Existence

Okay, that might be a bit harsh. Plotting isn’t really the bane. . . no, wait, yes it is.


I have to do what now?


The sad thing is I’m a complete, one hundred percent plotter. I NEED to plot. I NEED to know where my story is going otherwise I sit and stare at the screen.


Extreme Writer's Block

Or resort to violence because the words won’t come.


After I finished creating my Pre-Writing Character Questionnaire charts, I decided I needed something similar for plotting. A list of questions I could answer and at the end, viola!, I’d know my story’s inciting incident, midpoint, when to enter the B Story, the all is lost moment, etc. My Muse would be sooo happy and I wouldn’t have to buy another Mac because I threw the old one across the room.


So I hooked up with Google for an afternoon and after an intimate discussion found Jami Gold’s worksheets for writers. If you’re a writer, a plotter, a pantser, I recommend checking out her site. She has a ton of information for writers. And best of all, she already had seven different plotting spreadsheets I could use.



Hells yeah!


The only problem now is choosing the best one for me.

How do you plot? Do you use a spreadsheet? Just jot the basics on a napkin?


Here’s the link to Jami Gold’s site. Check it out, writers! jamigold.com/for-writers/worksheets-for-writers




19 thoughts on “RB: Plotting, The Bane Of My Existence

  1. I love Jami’s site–what a treasure trove! She has a really good handle on structure and characters…lots of great worksheets and downloads. 🙂

  2. I wrote my first novel as randomly as one could possibly write. I knew the sequence of events, the timelines and some of the characters involved. But that’s about it. As I started writing the first draft, about half of the things were in place. In subsequent revisions of the draft, I think the loose ends began to tie up. I simply call it beginner’s luck.
    For my second novel, I am trying to follow a much more structured process, and keep going back to what I could be my natural style.

  3. Pingback: Back to work with a new out(line/look) | Journal of Insanity

  4. Thanks for the shout out to my beat sheets! 🙂

    The funny thing is that I’m a pantser to the core–but I love story structure. Go figure. LOL!

    I tend to internalize all this story structure knowledge and never write any of these beat sheet details down before I draft. Sometimes I’ll pull them out for revisions or after I’m done with the draft and am curious about how I did, but never *before*. My muse wouldn’t allow it. 🙂

    • Wow! More power to you. It’s just one less step then for you to do before you can start writing.

      Normally during my pre-writing phase I’m just dying to dive right in. The thought that I will get stuck half way through without during all the pre-legwork stops me.


  5. sticky notes – I learned that from Script writing, write the scenes on sticky notes on a large board, that overlooks my desk, it also helps with keeping track of the subplots, my murder scenes, and when to put in some background story – plus I like the visual I have next to me all the time – easier to jump back into writing that way (got so much other stuff going on constantly). Love your blog!

    • Ella: I like notecards. I got that idea from Sue Grafton in her Kinsey Milhone novels. I write scene ideas as I think of them on notecards and pin them up on a cork board. That way I can shuffle them around as I plot the story, divide them into story strands, remove them, put them in a different order. Like puzzle pieces. Sometimes like evil puzzle pieces that are trying to kill me–or just make me insane–but hey, at least they’re colorful!

      • I tried the notecards once. And the sticky notes. But when I start writing, I feel like I’m swimming with no idea of where I’m going. I’m hoping Jami’s sheets will eliminate this panicky feeling.


  6. You know that site has been in my favourites since I came to you two lovely ladies.
    I am a Pantser I just write with the story in my head. An arc or side story will be twisted in after 😛

    I am weird I know.

    I do not even plot characters. they just are parts of me. Or maybe just truly me.
    But I need to thank you as mentioned in today’s moaning I am trying to plot a story. So help me muse. Thank you ladies for the link And fingers crossed On my story.

    • Ah, the world of a panster… It’s something I just can’t understand. 😉 Perhaps its because I’ve been planning my life since I was a toddler in my crib. I always had to know what was coming next.

      In all honesty, I’ve actually admired those who don’t have to plan out a novel, or life, step by step. There’s more spontaneity, more surprises, and probably just a general good ‘ol time when they’re writing.


    • Yes, the character stuff comes so easily too me. If I get stuck, I just ask the characters to help out. But plotting is a whole different story. I really hope Jami Gold’s sheets will help out.


  7. My brain won’t tolerate that level of organization. I’m more of a scribble-all-over-the-page outliner. And I never throw away my notes. If anyone ever finds them, I may find myself bound, gagged, and hauled off to an appropriate treatment facility.

    • Ha! I often think if people could hear the things I think about (for story use only, of course), I would’ve been arrested a long, long time ago. Have you ever seen Minority Report with Tom Cruise? I’m so glad that isn’t how society truly is. If it was, I can’t image there being too many writers around. Especially those like Stephen King.


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