To Plot or Not To Plot

Do you plot your story before writing it or do you write and then plot?

I write first. Then I get serious and look at my plot after I have a first draft written.

There is lots of writing advice out there telling writers to have major events at 25%, 50% and 75%. These are major plot points where something happens to change the direction of the story or the character arc.

So I went through my novels to see if I’d done this and was surprised to find I was close. I ended up with plot points between 22% and 27%, 45% and 53% and again between 72% and 77%. I figure this is close enough. There must be something about reading many books that makes this structure appear naturally when writing.

I used the kindle to find look at the percentages. This was easier than counting words. Now in my scrivener, I add a per cent number at each chapter heading. One more way to see if my writing is on track.

So, how to you know if you’re plot is laid out properly? and does it matter?

Thanks for reading . . .

Tips For Ordering Scenes In A Novel

Have you ever had trouble deciding the best order to put your scenes in?

Once you have a first draft written do you try different combinations to see what works best?

If you’ve been reading my blog, you might have guessed I’ve added a new row to my spreadsheet. I call it Scene Dependency.

First, I was just using it to list what scenes had to come before the scene I was reviewing. Then I discovered something even better.

Was it possible to link the end of one scene to the beginning of the next?

You bet. There are different ways to achieve this. For example:

  • Have one character end a scene. Have the next scene start with another character thinking of the previous character.
  • Put an object important to the story at the end of one scene and beginning of the next.
  • Use the same location at the end of one scene and the beginning of the next.
  • End a scene at night, start the next scene the following morning.
  • Reference the same weather in both scenes.
  • Reference the same sight. Maybe the moon setting or an avalanche at the end of one scene and the beginning of the next.
  • Use emotions to link the scenes.

In the end, have it all listed in your spreadsheet. You might be surprised how it changes the order of your scenes and gives you a fluid motion throughout your novel. The reader will feel more connected to your story if one scene links to the next even if the scenes are about different events.

Can you add to this list? Do you have any tips to ordering scenes? I’d love to hear them.

Thanks for reading . . .