Hints and Tips for Writers

Friday Blog Post: The Plot Planning Sheet

The concept of the Plot Planning Sheet is something I learned whilst undertaking a writing course about ten years ago. It is a fantastic tool for writers at any stage of their craft, but is especially useful for beginners. The Sheet can be used for short stories and longer works like novels. In this post I will explain each section of the Plot Planning Sheet in detail. I have also added the example sheet and a blank copy to Google Docs so that you can download it and use it yourself!

Plot Planning Sheet:

Beginning– Sets the scene for the story. The introduction of characters, and the first focal point (the first action taken in the story, which sets the pathway for the rest of the plot e.g. A murder, an accident).

Build-Up– As the plot unfolds, the characters work to solve the problem they’re faced with. The Dramatic Highspot takes place in this part of the story, and the Second Focal Point can take place here or in the Climax. Introduce all of your characters by this stage in the story.

Climax- The story reaches its conclusion. All the factors of the plot are brought together here, and the Main Character succeeds over all.

                                                                              Working Plot Plan

Desired Emotion– The emotions you want the reader to feel whilst reading your story e.g. Fear, Suspense, Sadness.

Theme– The theme you want your story to take e.g. Thriller, mystery, horror

Dramatic Highspot– Otherwise known as the ‘Black Spot’ in the plot. This is where it seems the Main Character will not succeed in overcoming his/her challenges, and the situation seems obviously hopeless. The Main Character must overcome seemingly impossible circumstances and become the hero.

Main Character’s Purpose– This is where you list what the Main Character’s purpose in the storyline is e.g. to defeat evil, to solve a crime.

First Plot Unit

Focal Point– The first action taken in the story, e.g. A murder, an accident.

Main Character’s Response– The Main Character’s reaction to the situation, and the actions he takes to resolve it.

Second Plot Unit

Focal Point– The second action point in the storyline, e.g. an action by the villain to bring down the Main Character/hero. The second Focal Point should thicken the plot in the build-up of the story.

Main Character’s Response– The Main Character’s reaction to the situation, and the actions he takes to resolve it.

I hope you find the Plot Planning Sheet helpful in your wring practice. Below is a link to a free sample of the Plot Planning Sheet for you to use, and if you have any questions or queries, please leave a comment!

Click HERE for the Plot Planning Sheet Example


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