Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Climbing The Story Mountain

All stories require a tiny bit of plotting at some stage. It may be as simple as adjusting/rewriting the genius of chapter 3 after a fabulous idea strikes when writing chapter 15. It might even (as I like to do as I write) be as simple as sketching out the next chapter before you write it. 

Want a simple way to plan out your fabulous WIP without the drama? Here is a simple little plotting guide to help climb that story mountain:

What do you think?

Any plotters want to share some tips? Any of my fellow plantsers (plotter & pantser) want to share some handy hints?  


  1. Love the story mountain!!! Such a great visual. And speaking of visuals, storyboarding helps me sometimes, especially when I'm stuck. I'm not talking da Vinci-level art. I'm talking stick figures on post-It notes. But storyboarding helps me establish the point of view of a scene and the action.

  2. This is a great breakdown, with a lovely metaphor alongside! I personally struggle with this a little in my novel, because the external plot/conflict feels like it takes too long to develop, and the internal plot/conflict feels like it may not be obvious enough.

    It's currently out with CPs, so I'm hoping they can help.

  3. I love the story mountain :) I'm definitely a plantser. Sometimes I start a story knowing the ending and a couple things in the middle, and I just go and figure out how I'm supposed to get there. Last time I did this my one book turned into two ;p. Sometimes I know the beginning and the problem and some of the stuff in between, but I have NO IDEA how it's going to end. I just have to write and let my characters figure things out for themselves.

    I think having an outline (once you're sure of what's going to happen) is very helpful. And not necessarily super specific, but a chapter-by-chapter breakdown of what happens. I usually make these after I've finished my first draft, so I can add things in I thought of along the way and rearrange events if I need to. It's proved to be very successful for me.

  4. The story mountain is great! It keeps us grounded and reminds us where to go next.

    Wish I had advice, but the mountain is better than anything I could add.

  5. I love this simple chart. Tempts me to use those words in my outline. Not like anyone will ever know if I start with "Once upon a time" and transition with "Unfortunately." ;)

  6. I definitely think more writers need to use something like this. Teachers use this "mountain" format in schools to plot stories with their students and identify the parts of a story. I think it has really helped me as a writer that I've been forced to identify parts plot like this for countless stories with my middle schoolers. (My crit group says I regularly have a solid plot skeleton... though I struggle with other things like POV)

    I've seen quite a few works-in-progress that were lacking in the plot dept. This would be a helpful tip. Maybe even try plotting some of your favorite books using this mountain tool. And then that would help you see how published authors plot their books successfully.


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