Christina Farley
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Using a Plot Grid

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned pulling out my plot grid when I was revising a manuscript and promised to talk more about that later. Now that NaNo is finished and many of you have a very rough draft in place, it’s key to pull out or create a plot grid.

Why have a plot grid?

1. Plotting– Gives you a bird’s eye view of the structure of your plot.

I’m a sucker for a good plot. Especially one that’s unpredictable. Of course, creating an unpredictable plot is another whole blog post for another day.

2. Character Appearances– Allows you to see how often and which one of your characters appear throughout the book.

3. Setting– Where is your story taking place? Are you switching up your setting? To me nothing is more boring than bouncing your characters between the school cafeteria and home. Please don’t do that. At least for my sake.

So, you’re probably wondering what a plot grid looks like and how to put it together. Click here for the word document that I use. If you have a mystery plot, check this plot grid out.

You can also watch my vlog on how to make a bigger version of this. Personally, I need both.



So what do you find is helpful to making sure your plot flows, doesn’t lag, and isn’t filled with holes?

8 Responses to Using a Plot Grid

  1. Talli Roland says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever used a plot grid, but I do need to have a bird’s-eye view. Thanks for sharing this, Christina!

  2. Vijaya says:

    I love having a peek into other writers’ processes. The plot grid I have used over and over again is the nine-square one — we’ve talked about it on the blueboards. Your mystery grid looks great.

  3. Thanks girls! I’m so glad you find it helpful. I guess it’s fun to mix teaching with my writing. I just can’t help myself.

  4. Karen Strong says:

    I just bought a roll of butcher paper last night! Ha. I plan on putting up my novel on the wall because I’m getting tired of shuffling papers. You video will give me some tips. Thanks!

  5. Some interesting ways of planning out each chapter. I literally just write out what should happen in a chapter in as much detail as possible, though I usually try to do this before I start writing. Those planning documents could definitely become useful to some though, even to me 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  6. Lexa Cain says:

    Holy moly, your plot grid is huge! You’re so organized. I have notes strewn through notebooks, and I cross things out and write in the margins. Your way seems much better! 🙂

  7. I’ve never even seen such a thing….how am I so behind on the times? It’s kind of against my writing process, but since my process has led to lots of starts and not many finishes, maybe it’s time to start a new style. I’ll have to dig around Scrivener and see if they have something similar…I think they do.

  8. Jemi Fraser says:

    This is super helpful to me right now – I’m hoping to learn how to plot!

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