calendar and post-it plotting

Filed under: Dear Thing, writing

One of my most popular posts on this blog is Post-It Plotting, but as one writer pointed out, my normal Post-It plots don’t include any sort of a calendar or timeline.

I’m working on Dear Thing, which is the story of two women and one pregnancy. It has two points of view, which is something I haven’t done for a while, and it has to be plotted out over the course of ten months which, because one character is a child and one is a teacher, must include three school terms and three school holidays.

My brain is far too small to process all of this, so I decided to do a bit of keeping track. I went to Staples and bought a financial year planner (I would have bought a normal year planner, but my novel just happens to start in March and finish in January, so an April to April one is much better). I coloured in the school holidays, determined what date one of my characters would have conceived, and wrote in 40 weeks’ worth of pregnancy. Then I started to plot events, from two points of view, on the calendar.

I had to cut the Post-Its into smaller strips to fit on the calendar. That is a down side.

It’s very rough as of yet, and only covers half the novel so far (because—ahem—that’s all I’ve written). But I’m finding it extremely useful.

And then some stuff happens. Yes, there's a character called Jarvis. I'm quite excited about that.

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  1. Ooh, Julie, concept for ‘Dear Thing’ sounds very exciting! Can’t wait to hear more & I do something similar where I write down what events have to happen in each month. I’ve found it very helpful when it’s come around to editing this time.

  2. Yes, I usually do a month-by-month calendar in parallel to my post-its, but this time it needed to be in the same place. I am an Author of Very Little Brain.

  3. I do love all these plotting gadgets and often succumb to the temptation of buying them. Sadly they just sit on the wall and make me feel guilty. The only time I managed a proper time line was when I was writing a book about a pregnancy and the book had to last the entire nine months.

    I do feel as if I’m missing out on a lot of fun, though.

    • That’s exactly the reason why I need a timeline for this book, Liz! Pregnancy. Pesky thing.

      I think these aids are helpful, or they aren’t. I never used to use them when I was writing shorter books; I’ve found that I can hold about 75K-worth of story in my head, and writing a book that is any longer requires me to make myself some sort of visual aid.

      It’s a brilliant excuse to buy lots of Post-Its, that’s for sure.

  4. I am a big fan of your post it plotting method – it saved me last year when I got in a proper mess.
    I still have the pretty board, i’m too fond of it to take it apart. It’s a win-win – it’s a plotting aid, and then it’s art! :O)

    • Oh you must keep them in case you need to…er…check the plot! That’s it. 😉

  5. That is a fantastic idea. I am working on a trilogy atm which will possibly span 6-12 months (haven’t decided yet) so this would be a great idea to plan out the whole plot for all of the books! Thanks for sharing, it’s been really helpful!

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