1. teacherayala
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    teacherayala Contributing Member

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    Plot Creator Software

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by teacherayala, Jun 22, 2011.

    Hey, just a question, and if this offends some of your aesthetics out there, feel free to chime in. I saw online the other day software that is intended to help you map out your plot in a coherent way. I suppose that you could just do this somehow on MS Word, but I wondered if any of you had used a type of software like that in order to organize your thoughts better before writing your novels/short stories. If you did, how successful was the result and which ones would you recommend. (Not that I'm asking you to sell your own personal product to me from your sales website or anything...)

    You know what? I think I might have asked this question before--like 2-3 months ago.
     
  2. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    I honestly just use pen and paper, that way it's easier to sketch it out however I want. I like to do weird things with arrows branching in all directions, and you can't do that on the computer...even if there was software that let you, I wouldn't be able to do it MY way. :D lol. I also use post-it notes, so I can rearrange them however I want.
     
  3. teacherayala
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    teacherayala Contributing Member

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    It's just that I have organization issues. It must be my ADHD brain. I get all kinds of ideas, and I tried to outline chapters, but I'm having a hard time fully making sure my synopsis summaries and progressions make sense. I end up asking major questions as I go along instead of planning more before I start writing. Then I have a really hard time going back and having it make sense.
     
  4. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I kind of loathe the concept of plot creation software. How long before the Nobel Prize in Literature is awarded to a computer?
     
  5. NateSean
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    NateSean Active Member

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    I know what you're talking about. It's advertised in Writer and other similar magazines. I don't think it's as black and white as "create the plot for me", it's mostly just a program for keeping notes together and organizing the story. You still have to do the legwork of course.
     
  6. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    I really like using textTree, especially when organizing characters. It's completely free. You can also use it for the plot, but I haven't tried that much. I write a plot outline in word, and that's all I need.
     
  7. JimFlagg
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    JimFlagg Contributing Member

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    I am not sure what the software would do for you. Ask you what your Beginning, Middle and End is? It might show time lines and plot events for you. I personally like the pen and paper approach. I never thought about this but you could use a scheduling program like Open Project or if you got the money, Microsoft Project. It lets you make gantt charts of your time lines.
     
  8. Sundae
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    Sundae Contributing Member

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    As a suggestion, instead of making an outline of each chapter, write a two page summary of your entire novel. Limit yourself. Two pages and that's it - Do not go over it and if you do, find something that you can cut that is not necessary to the movement of that two page summary.

    All major ideas you have in your mind should be there. Anything that is crucial should be there. It should also be progressive that if a stranger should read it, they would understand what happens from beginning to end.

    After this, take each paragraph from your two page summary and expand it, and continue to do so if you need to.

    I don't like to make chapter to chapter outlines for my stories. I find it very restricting. My ideas tend to evolve over time that it requires me to change my storyline and the direction the story goes that the outlines really tend to be useless for me. It's like trying fit a round ball into a square hole and it just doesn't work.

    I think the main thing is really your plot. As long as you don't deter from your original plot and your main MC, you should be good. The storyline however can very flexible and you might find it easier that instead of trying to make it very detailed, and overall general view is better.


    Also... just a note that usually your plot of your novel should be around three or four sentences long really - less than one paragraph in my opinion. But it should be a progression that encompasses a beginning, middle, and end. It seems like you're struggling with the storyline and tying the beginning, middle, and end together. The two page summary is really helpful here.

    Just a suggestion, it may or may not work for you but thought I'd put it out there either way.
     
  9. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    ... It doesn't actually MAKE the plot. It just helps you keep track. Like with notes and stuff.
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The best software for the purpose is the GreyWare(tm) located within the cranial cavity.
     
  11. NateSean
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    NateSean Active Member

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    Do they sell patches for it? ;)
     
  12. teacherayala
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    teacherayala Contributing Member

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    :) Thanks all.
    When I wrote my first novel, I did a chapter by chapter, and it really helped in terms of keeping me on my own plot line and keeping me motivated to complete chapters. I'm really struggling with the 2-page, though. Seems like everytime I make one, it leaves all kinds of questions that I somehow leave unresolved.
     
  13. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    LOL :D

    While I personally agree with Cogito (as it's all I use) I am also aware that not everyone can keep everything contained and logical in their brain. I get that many (maybe most?) writers feel more comfortable with knowing where they are going. Having character refs, etc. I don't see why any of the things mentioned wouldn't work. If all you're looking for is a way to keep things straight I don't know why you would pay for a program though. There are so many simple ways to do it.

    Though I don't mean to sound absurd (and I hope you don't take it that way) my 10 year old has ADHD as well and he uses notebooks. He says it's easier than a computer because he can do it anywhere and that it feels more real. I think he's going to be one of those writers that writes in a notebook for always, though. Though he's quite competent with computers and typing he doesn't like writing that way at all and constantly asks me how I can stand it. He says his thoughts flow better through a pen or pencil. I'm not suggesting that all ADHD brains are the same, or that you're the same level as a ten year old, but maybe it's worth a shot?
     
  14. Sundae
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    Sundae Contributing Member

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    That is where the expansion of the paragraph helps. The two page works as a summary. If you have a question, ask it and then answer it. I don't mean to say that you should limit yourself once you start expanding on the paragraphs. I mean, let the initial summary be two pages and have it be progressive. Once that is done, take each paragraph and add more detail. Then move to the next paragraph.

    For example

    Jenny walked to the park and came face to face with a maple tree. << How did Jenny walk to the park, why did she walk to the park, what happened as she walked to the park, what did Jenny think of the tree.

    Jenny climbed a tree << why did she decide to climb the tree, how did she climb the tree, what happened as she climbed the tree etc.

    Either way - hope you find something that does help.
     
  15. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have never used one, I'm for the pen and paper method :) but I guess there's nothing wrong with it, whatever works for you...
     
  16. Faust
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    Faust Contributing Member Supporter

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    I jot down main ideas or concepts (Usually these are just mostly things that I would need to add research to, in order to write about them competently) but generally speaking I let my stories sort of 'grow' on their own power and I'm just there to orchestrate it.

    *dons conductor suit and taps stick on music stand*
     
  17. TedR
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    TedR New Member

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    A markerboard.

    Seriously. I love using one for developing characters, character relationships, and the cause-effects of plot progression. A blank piece of paper would work just as well, but there's just something about sketching it out on the markerboard that makes it easier.
     
  18. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    This thread is for discussing the use of software other than word processors in general. Endorsement of specific products is not permitted, and any such posts will be removed.
     
  19. elneilio10
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    elneilio10 Member

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    Must say, Sundae's advice is particularly good (as far as I'm concerned - as I kind of follow it already!).
     
  20. teacherayala
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    teacherayala Contributing Member

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    So then, my question is whether we are allowed to send PMs with names of products if requested. (As I would like to know a user-friendly software that works.) Is that a different rule, Cogito, or we must keep mum in general?

    @Trish: I love just writing spontaneously, but notebook writing became too tedious for that, so now when I want to write spontaneously, I do it with MS Word instead. I jot ideas down sometimes on little pieces of paper that happen to be lying around. My problem isn't necessarily the creative flow--it's just organizing the ideas in my head in a logical progression. I end up just kind of feeling my way through from beginning to end at time, but the problem with that is that I end up with a nebulous mess that becomes very difficult to sort out. I also end up giving up if my nebulous mess gets so nebulous that I get too mired to get myself out, and then I don't end up working through my writer's block from the simple issue of not knowing what comes next. I think if I worked on plotting progression and working out character consistencies before I start developing the actual story itself, it would work out some of these inherent flaws in my writing.

    (And the reason I asked about Software is because I love playing with computer programs, as long as they are not too complicated, and just having a new "toy" to play with would also motivate me to get the plotting done!)
     
  21. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Advertising is prohibited on this site, and that includes "contact me privately for more information" posts. What you discuss privately is your own business, but if you begin PMing unsolicited endorsements around, that too is prohibited advertising.

    If your really want to get product information, use google. You can find product reviews that way too.

    You would not believe the lengths spammers go to to circumvent restrictions against advertising.
     
  22. Gholin
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    Gholin Member

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    Sorry Cogito :(. I was just trying to answer his question with what worked for me. I will remember not to state my endorsement of any specific products in the future.

    To answer teacherayala's question in a more legal way, I will just say that if there are many types of plotting programs out there that can help you organize and I have found a few useful ones, given my own ADHD disorganization. Just do an internet search for plotting software and try demos out and you might find something that fits.

    Of course, organization is something that you can develop over time without software by figuring out your own system, as many people here have mentioned. That might take some time to figure out though. Sometimes you need a tool to help you figure out things on your own.
     
  23. elneilio10
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    elneilio10 Member

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    I apologise too.
     
  24. The Degenerate
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    The Degenerate Active Member

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    Let's hope IBM doesn't teach Watson how to write any time soon.
     
  25. CiaDavis
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    CiaDavis Member

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    My bad. I was just trying to answer the question :redface:
     

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