Do you like to visually plan your stories--mind maps, poster boards, sticky notes, charts, Scrivener cork board, notecards, and/or timelines? If so, I’ve discovered a great new app I wanted to share with you today!
Plottr. It helps you create visual timelines that can assist you in generating your outline/synopsis.
I bought the program back in May and feel as if I’ve barely put a dent in all I’ll be able to do with it. Plus, as they get feedback from authors, they’re releasing new features constantly. I’ll just share a few of the features I’ve been using and really like.
One of my favorite things is being able to use a template. I have a hard time seeing the big picture in a story, so this really helps me keep on target. They offer many templates, some of which you’ve already heard of or used. Just a few examples are The Hero’s Journey (Joseph Campbell), Romancing the Beat (Gwen Hayes), 12 Chapter Mystery, The W Plot, and Story Circle (Dan Harmon). I played around with two or three and finally settled on using Romancing the Beat. I love it!
What’s great is that you can fill in each beat as is, or you can move things around to suit your story. Everything can be dragged and dropped. You can have multiple plot lines. You can have multiple views (vertical or horizontal). You can use multiple colors. You can pull up your story in outline mode or timeline mode.
Here’s an example so you can envision how the timeline works.
You can create plot cards and also store info about your characters. You can even keep track of a series! You can create a story bible. You can store photos/images. Here's an example of storing information about Places:
You can tag things, so that if you want to do a search—for example one particular character—you can pull up everything with that tag and follow that character’s scenes. You can also tag particular plot lines (romance, character arc, faith journey, etc) so that you can keep up.
Here’s an example of tagging and filtering:
Once you have your timeline filled in, you can auto-generate an outline.
I just discovered you can even add dialogue snippets if they hit you while you’re working. :) I’ll be using that soon.
I also thought it might help to see the timeline in vertical view in case your brain works better seeing it that way:
I could go on and on. Here's a link to Plottr so you can check it out. (No affiliate links. I just wanted to include a link to make it easier for you.) You can download a free trial to see what you think of it. They also have demos you can check out.
Plottr was created by Cameron Sutter. Cameron was a software engineer by trade who was writing novels but having trouble figuring out how to plan them and be able to keep track of notes, and manage story elements that changed all the time. A friend in his writing group suggested a visual tool for planning stories. So he got to work on one using his software background!
I’ve used the Scrivener corkboard for planning my stories (it’s the only feature I use in Scrivener). But I find Plottr works much better for me. I can do a lot more with my plot (scene/beat) cards. I’m pleased that I can get a visual grip on my whole story. And for those who do use Scrivener, you can export to Scrivener. You can also export to Word. Another feature in the works now at Plottr…you’ll eventually be able to sync with Scrivener.
I’ll be here today to answer questions. As I said, I’ve only scratched the surface. One nice thing is that there’s a Facebook page for users to ask questions (or just lurk like I do). :)
If you like to plan your stories visually, I hope you'll check it out. Let me know what you think!
After more than 10 years of pursuing her dream of publication, Missy Tippens, a pastor’s wife and mom of three from near Atlanta, Georgia, made her first sale to Harlequin Love Inspired in 2007. Her books have since been nominated for the Booksellers Best, Holt Medallion, American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award, Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, Maggie Award, Beacon Contest, RT Reviewer’s Choice Award, and the Romance Writers of America RITA® Award. Visit Missy at www.missytippens.com, https://twitter.com/MissyTippens and http://www.facebook.com/missy.tippens.readers.