Plotting a Novel

Something I was not aware of until after I wrote my first draft is that there are ways of plotting a novel before you begin writing that makes the entire process of writing/revising a novel SO MUCH EASIER afterwards. One of the easiest ways of plotting a novel is credited to Michael Crichton. It’s super simple, and it uses 3×5 index cards. Every time you think of an idea for your novel, whether it’s lines of dialogue, a plot point, an interesting fact about a character, you simply write it on an index card and throw it in a shoe box. After you have several cards in the box, you can then go through and arrange them until they’re in the order you want.

Once you have the basic outline, it’s easy to go in and make new cards to fill in spaces, or add depth to the story. When you can’t think of anything else to add, it’s time to start writing. What makes this easy is that every time you sit down to write, you can grab a card and know exactly what you need to accomplish that day. Simple and easy. I wish someone had told me about this years ago! It almost makes me want to go back and start all over from the beginning. Almost.

Has anyone tried this? How does it work?


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