A Plotting Breakthrough!

I’ve always been more of a panster than a plotter. I just thought I was stuck with that mode in my brain. And it has caused me quite a bit of grief–I have thousands and thousands of words worth of broken plots, stories that went nowhere, and plot twists that have spun into convoluted knots.

I should have known that visual plotting would be my breakthrough.

I decided to try to sort out all the time-traveling in my story by laying the whole thing out in a Visio diagram. I am a business analyst, so flowcharts come quite naturally to me.

Check it out. Click to enbiggen.

PlotWebsThis is only a portion of a Visio that is now four pages wide. Four portrait-style pages, because I need the vertical length. Each swimline–the vertical boxes–represents a decade. The bubbles are laid out in chronological order, as they would occur in real time. The lines going every which-way represents four groups of time-travelers as they criss-cross the decades (and each other).

With this plotting style, I have come up with two of the three plotlines that I need to finish up for this book, and I am working on finishing up the third.

Now I just need to quit drawing lines and resume writing some words. 60,000 words down, 40,000 words to go!

5 Thoughts to “A Plotting Breakthrough!”

  1. deborahblake1


  2. Good luck, Tia! It does look like it could be helpful in keeping track of a complicated plot. {SMILE}

  3. I don’t really think it is as complicated as it looks. It’s like any other book where several people have their own stories. Except these stories are as going back and forth across time as well, and you sometimes see the outcome of a character’s action before you see the action itself.

    1. It’s very complicated by my standards. My stories tend to be simple enough they stay short. I’m beginning to change that, but for me that’s not that easy. {Smile}

      Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

  4. Looks awesome! I could use something like that for my fantasy world building. Thanks for the tip!

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