• Ryan Muiller

Plotting ~insert Evil Laugh here~


No two people plot stories the same way. But it can be simplified into 1 of 2 schools of thought:

1. Plot everything before writing a single word


2. Make it up as one goes

Me? I like to plot. It gives me goals to reach and a path to stay on. Plus, it allows me to come back months later and know exactly what I need to write next. Plotting allows me to test how strong an idea is and how far it will go.

Many others like to go with the flow. Be surprised at what happens next.

I tried this once with my, currently titled, Odile Blackswan novel (still being edited but up for reading on my Inkitt page I had a loose concept of my beginning, middle, and end. It being based on the ballet helped with that. Everything in between those three major plot points I came up with on the fly.

It wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. Some days were more of a struggle than others. And, to be honest, it probably would have taken longer to write had I plotted the whole thing out first. Does this mean I’ll try this way again? That remains to be determined.


Not matter what way you plot, you still need someway to keep track of details. Not just plot details, but location descriptions, character back story, shoot, character traits and physical descriptions.

“But Ryan,” you say, because yes, we are on a first name basis, “I can remember all the details. I don’t need to write any of it down.”

Friend, that is the devil talking. Because you will forget. You will be in chapter 16 describing some character’s eyes. You know they are blue, but you’ve forgotten what kind of blue. And you know for a fact you’ve already described them somewhere else. Frantically, you have to skim all 15 chapters for this tiny nugget of information. Or, worse, you randomly guess what blue they were. Chances of it being the right shade are slim.

So, you need to store this info someplace safe and someplace you can easily access it. To my surprise, there are a lot of options online. Ranging from simple note taking software to some pretty advanced stuff. Point is, you don’t really need all that. Pen and paper have worked for years. Google docs is free. Depending on if you can handle an older version, Microsoft Office is free. Personally, I use OneNote.

And there are tons of apps for those who write on their phone. I don’t know of any off hand. I do not use the tiny screen to write.

Find a free one and play around with it for a while. Organize your notes so that they make sense to you. No one else needs to be able to see the pattern in your organization, just you.

But, for real, any product that says all the famous authors use it, and if you want to be successful, you must use it too, is lying to you.

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