As part of this year's September Shorts I've asked writer friends to contribute posts inspired by the title One Cool Thing. They'll be telling you about one cool thing they're looking forward to as Autumn approaches. It might be a book or movie, a tabletop or computer game, an event or visit to a special place, a chance to achieve something... or perhaps even an exciting new project.
Today is the turn of Jon Mayhew, the brains behind the break-neck, action-packed Monster Odyssey series and The Mortlock series of MG gothic chillers, as well as a proliferation of projects under other names, the latest of which are his detective novels featuring DCI Will Blake. You can check out Jon's website here.
Jon Mayhew: Plottr
Authors, we’re told, are divided into plotters and pantsers. There are those who map everything out in meticulous detail, from the characters' backstories through to the weather when any event is happening. On the other hand, there are writers who fly by the seat of their pants, seeing what happens next, enjoying the ride as much as they hope the reader will.
I’m sure there are those who work at either end of this spectrum but I suspect that the vast majority of us are somewhere in the middle. We might have a rough outline of the plot and characters but then we start to write and things change, the story develops and surprises us. I like to write fast, so plotting is important for me but I certainly veer away from my plan every time I write.
So when I saw Plottr, I thought I had to try it.
Plottr is a piece of software that helps you outline your story. It looks rather like a flow diagram, with chapter headings at the top and then different coloured plotlines below. You write your main plot points in boxes along the timeline. Each box can be expanded to accommodate more detail. You can use the headings in those boxes to assemble a rough synopsis of sorts. You can build character notes and a book bible to help you refer back to characters’ details such as eye colour or habits they might have.
I’m probably not doing it justice, here so go and have a peek for yourself. I’m looking forward to trying it out!