Story Plotting/Formulas

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Each writer has their own way of plotting that works for them, and often they must go on a sort of writer’s journey to find that particular form of planning their stories that just clicks with the voices singing a chorus in their heads. For some, it’s as simple as writing a short synopsis of the story on a couple pages of paper; for others it’s a detailed mathematical process; and for one group down in Louisiana it involves spreadsheets, black magic and sacrificing gummy bears.

If you’re using Scrivener (as any smart writer should) then you already have an amazing tool for plotting and planning your book in their notecard system, but again, you need to know how to use their notecards and other tools in the most efficient ways, so even that isn’t a complete solution. Luckily, you don’t need to re-invent the wheel. Many writers have gone before you, and they’ve shared their secrets for you to pillage and use in finding your outlining style.

Note: Before you look at the sites and videos below, I should mention one more thing. Almost all of these methods ultimately reference a Three Act Structure (or some variation) at some point, so you’d better be familiar with it. It’s not a hard concept (Beginning-Middle-End) but it’s important to understand it to get the best out of your plotting, whether you use it or not.

Now, let’s look at some resources to help you your prep your work!

(Because I had so many links, I have organized the different resources by category for easier organization.)

Story Formulas

Outlining Methods

Short Story Formulas

Tools for Planning and Writing

Writing Tips and Theory