Saturday, May 23, 2009

How to plot a novel ... now with extra plot!

Not sure whether you've seen my article on How to plot a novel, but there's a tantilising pic of a completed outline where the font is just too small to read.

I keep getting emails from people asking me to make the pic bigger so they can read the text, or to provide the Freemind outline it belongs to. In the past I've said no because the outline was written for my own use and could contain just about anything. The pic was deliberately designed so it couldn't be read.

However, tonight I caved in and skimmed the plot outline for objectionable or actionable content, and after a cleanup I've uploaded the file to my website.

You'll find a link to the file on the article page, and I've also included an html version of the file. It should be a decent example of a plot outline, and if you're curious to see how much it differs from the finished novel you're welcome to buy the ebook version of Hal Spacejock book four.

Obviously the plot outline contains major spoilers, so I'd read the book before the outline!

Simon Haynes is the author of the Hal Spacejock and Hal Junior series (Amazon / Smashwords / other formats)


Ben-M said...

Thanks Simon!

I must admit, I'd also been curious about that little graphic since seeing it a few months ago. It also helps (a lot, I think) in fleshing out the idea you've discussed in using freemind for plotting.


Anton Gully said...

I tried using Freemind to lay down a number of ideas but I'm now trying to use the even more awkward vehicle of a spreadsheet to organise my plot**. I became convinced that I needed to focus on my characters and it seemed like a reasonable way to do it.

(you need to be at least reasonably broad minded to click on the screenie of my spreadsheet. It isn't penthouse letters, but it isn't Disney either.)

Of course my Freemind charts were nowhere near as neat as the Hal 4 one. The day by day listing you have is elegant. Didn't look too closely though cos I haven't gotten to 4 yet!

**disclaimer: I'm an amateur and well aware of it, but heaping my usual self-deprecating mockery all over my efforts would just bog this comment down even more.

Simon Haynes said...

My plots are way too cloudy for a spreadsheet. I do use spreadsheets for all kinds of things, but not this. I need to be able to move chunks around easily and attach them to other ideas.

Quintin said...

Simon, your articles are an absolute must read for writers, new and practices. Mind if I link to them from my blog? (

Simon Haynes said...

Sure thing - go ahead.