Friday, March 22, 2013

Using Flow Charts to Plot

I'm writing a new book. I have the main plot points and progression in my head, but I didn't want to write a standard scene list this time. I wanted to change things up, so I pulled up Power Point (part of the Microsoft Office suite) and played around with flow charts.

*As of this morning, I've noticed there are links in this blog to ads I did NOT place. Please do not click on anything that looks suspicious.*

The first chart I made was a Tree Diagram for my main character. I've never used one before. Seeing the layout made me think it was perfect for her story goals. Branching out from the goals were ways for her to meet the goals, which sparked ideas for scenes.

The  picture is hard to read, so here is the breakdown:

Main Character
Goal 1        Goal 2         Goal 3
Solution1   Solution 1    Solution 1
Solution 2  Solution 2    Solution 2
Solution 3  Solution 3    Solution 3

I also made a Flow Chart for my book. Each rectangle contained a major plot point, and the arrows going down connected the plot points with possible scenes.

The print-outs are pinned to the bulletin board above my desk. Perfect for reminding me where I need to go!

Have you tried something new lately? I'd love to hear about it.

Have a fantastic weekend!!


  1. Oh, very interesting, Jill!
    I've never used power point, but I know I have it.
    I'm digging thru my old convention notes, trying to get a handle on plotting. You would think it'd get easier with time, but it doesn't! LOL

  2. I have never used Power Point...I tend to be a scribbler with my beginning notes--it's the only time in my story process that I actually hand write anything. I'm such a strong pantser, that it's hard for me to plot, but I'm trying to get the basics of it down:)

  3. Super fun, Jill! Your brain always amazes me. I used some notecards with my last book and jotted all possible scenes. I carried them with me in case something popped. I really liked that. I have a new set in my purse today!

  4. I'm with Jess, your brain amazes me! You've sparked an idea for my new book to plot the main points like this to ascertain where some discussion needs to head. BRILLIANT!!

  5. What a clever approach, Jill. I've never been a flow chart person, but I do create scene logs using Excel.

  6. OH, this sounds intriguing, Jill! Thanks for sharing it. Have you tried the "snowflake" method of plotting?

    My only new experiences in writing lately are a couple of new magazines I've submitted articles to. I like to expand my list of publishing credits, and my savings account!

    Happy weekend,

  7. I use PowerPoint every day for the "day job" but never thought to use it this way! Love the idea. I will have to play around with it;)

  8. Your excitement with flowcharts reminded me of my early days in computer programming school. We had to flowchart each programming assignment. When I got my first real programming job, my supervisor gave me a project. I started pulling out my programmer's flowchart template and going to town. He said: What the heck are you doing? Me: Making a flowchart. He: We don't have time for that! :-D

  9. Jill, I'd love to see a pic of your plot flow chart. Can you take a pic and post?


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