New Feature: Plotting
This post originally appeared on Medium.com.
It’s been a few weeks since the last update. You’ve been anxiously awaiting to hear what new goodness I’ve whipped up for you. Your wait has not gone unrewarded.
Plot Like a Boss
Plotting can be a challenging task. It isn’t hard to come up with a basic idea for a story. But it gets more challenging as you flesh out characters, add interest with subplots, and endeavor to pace your story in a way that works for your readers. Hardest of all is seeing how it all works together.
Now you can see how every piece fits into the whole. Now you can work on pacing for not just your main plot, but each subplot. Now you can weave your plot lines together with simplicity and ease.
Now you have full access to the easiest and most flexible way to plot a novel. A pinch of note card, a dash of spreadsheet, and a touch of relationship. This is how the great Harry Potter series was plotted, but it didn’t get as nice a tool to do it with.
The concept is simple. You have multiple story lines interweaved in your novel. Each an independent story. They interact with, affect, and bring richness to your main story. Each of these subplots need their own pacing, their own arcs, and their own climaxes.
Now you can track each plot line separately. You can focus on one subplot at a time. And you can look at how all those plot lines relate to each other.
The Plot Grid
The plot grid is your bird’s eye view. Manage the story plot as a whole, each plot line and plot point visible together. Be a god surveying the landscape of your world.
The plot line is your stack of note cards for that subplot.
Focus in on a single plot line and fill it out details of each plot point. Everywhere you see the small note cards, you can click to view the larger version with all the gory details you’ve written.
Plot by the Book, or Plot Independently
There are two ways you can have your plot grids, independent or attached. One is for playing around with plot ideas, the other is for setting down plot against scenes in your book.
Independent plot grids allow you to explore plots and ideas unattached to any scenes or books. You can use these to craft the high-level plot of your series, play with random plot ideas, and generally just get what’s in your brain onto paper…so to speak.
Create book plots from the main plot screen (the only way currently)
When you create a plot grid for an individual book, the scenes of that book are listed in the first column of your grid, allowing you to line up plot points with each scene. That is what you see in the screenshot above. This process “attaches” those plot points to your scene. When you edit your scene, they help you remember what your scene is all about.
See plot points for each scene
To top off this initial release of plotting, the Manuscript view has been filled out a bit more. You can now edit chapter names, insert new chapters and scenes, and sort everything in a note card interface.
I’ve also fixed a number of annoying bugs.
- Creating folders and notes in the note section broke temporarily
- Drag-drop to the trash now works
- Scroll issues resolved and more
There are a couple of plotting additions I’d like to ask your opinion on:
Tagging scenes, to see at a glance what role the scene plays within your plot.
Dividing lines, to visually separate your plot into sections of your own choosing.
Next Feature: Cloud Storage+Sync
You’ve written thousands of words, the worst thing that could happen is your computer crashes and you
lose everything. I’m now working on user accounts and cloud storage of your precious words. This will allow syncing your work between computers and using Dabble within your browser!
Very exciting stuff. As always, let me know how you write, what is painful or helpful, and you’d like to see, what bugs you encounter, and any feedback you have. Together, we’ll make the most beautiful writing (and now plotting) experience available to mankind. Just click the “Help” button in Dabble.
And if you haven’t downloaded Dabble yet, download here.
Do you have a story in you? Of course you do! For a lot of us, the hardest part of writing a novel is just getting started. Research shows us that having a support system ups our chances of success. While most of the writing life is a solitary experience, there is much to be gained from knowing that you have friends that are on the journey along with you. We at Dabble love to write and want to demonstrate, in real time and in front of the world, what it looks like to go from idea to plan to first draft. That’s why we’re kicking off the “Write A Novel With Dabble In 60 Days” challenge. If you find yourself in need of camaraderie, we’d love for you to join us as we work toward completing the challenge. We’d love to hear encouragement from you, and we’d love to send some of that encouragement back to you! With a band of friends and the ultimate writing tool at our fingertips, there’s nothing we can’t do together—and we’re going to prove it. We’ll be planning weekly check-ins to share with each other, and those of you that embark on this journey with us. You’ll have a front-row seat for our successes and frustrations. You’ll see and hear how we are finding solutions to story problems that are hiding along the way and hold each other lovingly accountable throughout the process. We believe so much in the power of Dabble to help writers see their dreams realized on the page, we’re going to put our keyboards into action. We hope you’ll join us!
Essentially, a beta reader is an (hopefully) objective third party who will read your novel or story and provide (hopefully) constructive feedback. A beta reader is not an editor, and often they’re not writers either, though there’s a good chance a lot of your beta readers are going to be authors as well.
If you’re a regular writer of romance or are looking to dive into this popular genre, you might be on the lookout for some stellar plot ideas. Spend any time reading and exploring the genre and you’ll know that romance is just one word for dozens of different subgenres all with their own tone and style.