JK Rowling's Plot Grid for Order of the Phoenix

Looks like a thing the Dabble’s plot grid could manage. But one difference, in that the plot grid seems to work best with scenes, whereas JK’s was for chapters. But it certainly exhibits the aspects of different plot lines.

Think I might make one of these myself. But since I want to do the same chapter based type, I’ll build it in Google Sheet.

By the way, I found this in this writing site. http://www.betternovelproject.com/blog/series-outline/

AND on this page, I learned about this book, Book Architecture: How to Plot and Outline Without Using a Formula. I’ve read a million writing books. Now I always assume any book I find will be formulaic, won’t teach me anything new, or both. But this one intrigued me. So I bought it.


Based on my reading at Joanne Rowling’s The Ickabog free online book, she does not use scenes at all. She writes in short chapters. That explains why her plot grid is organized in chapters.

Fun fact: Her real name does not include a middle K. Her publisher suggested she use the middle initial K because it made the author’s name look more impressive.


That’s interesting. I think a problem I have been having is deciding how to end a chapter, how many scenes in a chapter, whether or not to mix POVs in a chapter, etc.

But lately, I’ve abandoned thinking about chapters for the moment. I’m just focusing on scenes in my first draft. That way I just get the story out, not worrying about everything I just mentioned.

Since I don’t have to worry about how long a chapter should be, I can write as many scenes as I want, figuring I’ll cut out many of them in future drafts. Before, I was trying to be economical with my scenes so chapters wouldn’t be so big. And I found that I wasn’t able to explore character as much. But now that I’m writing as many scenes as I want, I’m getting to know my characters more. And even if certain scenes don’t make the cut, I would have made the characters more richer. Also, since there are multiple arcs and POVs going on, I can figure out how to order these later. It has really saved me a lot of headaches. And the writing is flowing a lot more.

I did read once that chapters that are made of multiple scenes are sometimes arbitrary division points that helps organized the final form of a submitted manuscript. Now I see it as secondary to plot. They can be a way to tighten up future drafts, add suspense, etc. Not something someone to worry about in the first draft.

But now that you’ve mentioned JK Rowling actually does short chapters that are essentially single scenes, that also gives the possibility of not even having to groups the scenes in to chapters. I know short chapters are pretty common in pot-boilers, so there’s that as well.

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You could also do it in Dabble with a generic grid instead of one attached to the novel. I will have to consider allowing the grid to be chapter-based.

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I was thinking of doing that. But the text I want to put into each box is really long. Won’t fit in a card. But I think doing it in Google Sheets will help when I’m working a lot of things out and always changing. But I think once it get it more locked down, and I don’t need to see all the long text in the boxes, I’ll transfer into a generic Dabble grid.

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I’ve been reading this book the past few days. And I have applied a lot of what I’ve learned to my book. It has really helped me to add interest, suspense, character motivation and arcs, etc. I have a general plot, but the first draft of the first part was just a little blah. Mixing all the arcs (which the artist calls “series”) has helped to give it some umph.

I was also encouraged to hear that JKR spent five years just coming up with the rules of the Harry Potter universe before starting to write.

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