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Plotting: Paradigm Worksheets

Edited after domain transfer to fix the links

Originally published at Joely Sue Burkhart. You can comment here or there.

Okay, after a few tries, I think I finally devised a worksheet that I can use to plot NSR. This is what works for me, for this book. I’ve never needed this much detail for a book before. I may never need it again (but I suspect I will). Nor are these likely final drafts. I’m sure as I begin writing and diving deeper into character that some of these scenes will change. I haven’t eyeballed it yet from a symmetry standpoint either. Certainly nothing is written in stone! This is not a list of rules I have to follow, but rather a guidemap to help me find “The End.” That’s truly all I’m trying to do here. I need to get the VISION, and these worksheets are helping.

I created 4 worksheets:

Timeline – Act I Act II Part 1 Act II Part 2 Act III

Some notes:

  1. The first column is for your characters or threads you want to track across the paradigm. They do not have to be POV characters. I chose to list several characters that did not have a POV.
  2. I used colored pens to keep track of each POV. This will help me see the balance across the story.
  3. I drew a number on the timeline, and then used the number in the appropriate character’s row for reference. Any character that might be included in the scene also got a note.
  4. I don’t recommend trying to get every single possible scene on the paradigm. I quickly ran out of room in Act II Part 1, even though I thought I was listing only the crucial scenes.
  5. You may choose to list story scenes that are not actually “on page.” For instance, I listed the bad guys’ movement, even though they don’t have a POV, and even though no POV character was on scene with them. I wanted to keep track of where they were, and this helped.
  6. I’ve laid a few hero’s journey notes on top of Syd Field’s recommended turning points in his paradigm. Not every stage of the hero’s journey is listed.
  7. Don’t get too hung up on the exact sequence of numbers. A few times I used “A” instead of the next number because I realized I needed to insert a scene and I didn’t want to start over on that page.

Below, I’ve included small screen shots of the first “finished” draft of these worksheets for NSR, my grand project tonight. Again, subject to change. I doubt you can read the detail (I actually hope you can’t ;-) I may delete the images later to protect the story), but wanted to give you a general idea of what mine looked like.

Comments, discussion? Is this way too anal for you?




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