It sounds like one of the most complicated things EVER. And yes, in a way it can be. But it doesn’t need to be. I go back and forth with every story I work on with how I will plot it out. When I first started writing I was a full on “Pantser” or Discovery Writer. I had NO IDEA what I would be putting on the page before I got there. However over the years I have started planning out my stories more and more, particularly as they got more complicated (See Rebellion Book #2 in the Frituals Saga with 9 points of view…) So I have tested out several different ways of plotting. Some examples I have created worksheets for below that you can use. *NOTE This is the way I use these methods, you can take them and adapt them, use them all or NONE of them. It is your story, there is no one way to tell it. I personally will be doing a Three Act Story Structure this year.
Definitions and Acronyms
Plot- The main events in a story where each event in succession has a cause and effect related to the next event. Pantser or Discovery Writer- A writer that goes into a story “blind” or a Writer that learns the plot through writing it Plotter- A writer who plans out the actions in a story prior to writing them. Plotser- Someone inbetween a plotter and a Pantser. They may know a few scenes but not the overall story arc. Conflict- A struggle, this can be as high stakes as a full on battle scene or as small as the main character losing thier homework. Something that causes a character strife. Resolution- The decision on a course of action, solution, or method. Or the resulting state of a conflict. Point of View- The Character Lense through which we view the story. This can refer to the indiviual characters or how the story is told IE First person vs third person MC- Main Character
I use a story boarding method when I either have multiple points of view, or way to lay down several plot points I know, and work to figure out how to connect them. When I am working with multiple points of view, every character is assigned a color. I write down a basic one to two line sentences about said plot point or character, and I give the chapter a number of where I think It should go in succession. I then lay out as many points as I know at that time then arrange the plots together, over laying them where I think they would fit best. This is a GREAT method if you are figuring out time lines and the order you think events should go in because you can physically move them around. It is a very simple method, and is great for a visual person. Down side, can’t really take a physical graph with you. But once you nail down the order, number them, and keep them in a little case, and you can add as much info to the card as you can fit.
This is probably the simplest of all of the plotting and yet can be the most difficult. Narrative is what it sorta sounds like, you go through and write down in either a bullet point or narrative structure (tell the story) the way you for see it told. This can be accompanied by simple directors to help you to flesh out the story.
The Three Act Structure breaks your story into three Acts with 9 blocks with three chapters in each block for a total of 27 chapters. Through the blocks, it helps to track the course of the book through a series of conflicts and resolutions. With the stakes being raised through each block until it comes to a head at the climax. I am doing a Three Act Structure Outline this year for Nanowrimo, and it has been by far the most in-depth outline to date for me. Which I really appreciate since there is a lot I want to keep track of, but I am also only doing one point of view this one works for me. You could replicate this across multiple story lines if your have alternating points of view. I plan to do this in the future for the third (and possible 4th?) novel in The Frituals Saga.