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Plot Grid Help!

What I usually do is plot via scenes only. Then later I will start to drag those scenes into chapters and parts.

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I also have to say I really appreciate the Plot Line view, because I can immediately enter a lot of info about the scene before I write the scenes. This can include…

Setting
Characters
Dialogue
Action

And if you’re following Blake Snyder’s process, you can add your “+/-” and “><” elements.

I like than I can brainstorm the scene before I write it. For example, I know the scene will be a problem solving scene. So I will brainstorm on the card ideas for problems. Then after I choose a problem, I will brainstorm ways to solve the problem.

Often my notes will take on a conversational tone. General questions I’m asking. For example…

“What is Brian worried about? Is he afraid to go on this quest? If so, why? Is there something dangerous? Will the solution need a great sacrifice? If so, what kind. [Then I list a lot of options for a sacrifice]”

I like working this way because I can “write” stuff without really writing. Let my thoughts flow and don’t worry about punctuation, spelling, details, etc. And when I’m writing this casually, my inner editor bothers me less (or not at all) than when I’m actually typing on a manuscript page.

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I’ve gotten my head around the way that the plot grid is intended to be used, but I still find it frustrating. I’d love to be able to have more than one manuscript plot line, so that I can actually use it to reflect scenes that take place in different places, or from different POV, and have the cards tie back to the scenes themselves rather than making extra work for myself and writing things twice.
Obviously in this case column A and column B wouldn’t be able to both have scenes on the same row, there’d still only be one card per row to reflect the scenes happening one after another.

It may just be me, but being able to visually distinguish information by rearranging the cards in multiple dimensions, and having that information automatically reflected in the manuscript itself, is the entire point of using a digital plotting method. Otherwise I may as well use post-its on a wall.

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You could have a plot line called POV or Location and create a plot point with the POV or location on the card.

The plot card information is shown when you go to a scene to write it. All the plot points you have lined up for the scene appear on the right. And post-its on a wall are harder to carry around with you if you take your writing on a laptop (and eventually mobile).

I have plans for improvements to the plot grid to make it more useful. Labels, chapter demarkations, different plot line display, and some ease-of-use enhancements. There may also be new plot views in the future that let you work with just the scene cards (no sub-plots) to get the main beats of your story in place (like the Save the Cat!® board).

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This helped so much. Thank you.

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I agree with those confused the by the Plot Grid thing. It has been an exercise in frustration for me. Every which way I try it use it, it ends up confusing me and messing things up more than it helps. Frankly, I have given up on the feature and pretty much use Dabble as a nice, crisp word processor.
So for those who don’t get it, I’m right there with you.

(Please do not link me to the post “The Plot Function” by Chris, I’ve read it 15 times. :stuck_out_tongue:) Maybe I’m just dumb.

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I meant to use the general one but I accidentally used the one more in depth one, I have 6 chapters written already is it too late to change? I’m brand new at this. Any suggestions would be helpful.

Thank you,
EldoraNan

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You have to redo the plot one. MAYBE Jacob can handle it for you on the back end, but that’s something you should contact him about in the chat support so he can help you with a little more detail.

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Thank you!

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AJ, What do you mean by making a plot grid with the manuscript, not a general plot line? I keep thinking this plot grid function will be helpful but so far I cannot figure it out at all. I haven’t focussed on it much but am ready to do so now.

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Oh, that makes a lot more sense to me. I think that will work, although I’ll continue to try to figure it out.

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This is the original creation of your plot grid. When you’re creating a plot grid, you can select one of these two options. When you select the Plot menu on the left and then create generic plot grid, this will create a plot grid that is not associated with one of your novels. If you create a plot grid with the second option, it creates it associated with your book and by default links the plot lines to your book scenes.

I’ve used screenshots from my ML Things notebook to explain, hence why they don’t look very novel-ly :smiley:

Creating the plot grids:

Using an associated plot grid with book scenes on the left:
Screen Shot 2020-08-22 at 7.20.08 am

Plot lines linked in scene:

Generic plot grid with no book scenes:
Screen Shot 2020-08-22 at 7.20.33 am

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Hi Tori,
Thank you very much. By “not associated” am I correct in thinking that the plot grid I label with my book’s title is set up to move the scenes around in the manuscript whenever I move them on the plot grid?
And the generic plot grid allows me to play with the plotting without having my manuscripte changed? Can I give this generic grid a title such as “My Book’s Title2” in which that label includes my book’s title with 1, 2, etc. at the end?

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Hey S11,
When you move chapters or scenes in your book, it will move the plot cards associated with it. I haven’t tried it the other way around, but I assume it works the same.
Yes, the generic one doesn’t affect your manuscript at all :slight_smile:

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One thing I like about plot grids and columns is I’m able to track the instances of a theme or theme elements that I want to pepper in my story.

For example, one thing that goes on throughout my story is that certain sensitive people are having visions of giant ring-shaped objects and glimpses of alternate worlds. Thus, I created a column titled “Rings”. So when these visions are mentioned or have an effect on the overall plot, I put a card in that column in the scene row in which that incident happens. Since I can see how often and where these incidents happen, I can plot any progress, see where they might be happening too often or might not be happening enough.

I have other columns that specifically track things like…

  • the emotional impact the overall plot is having on my main character
  • the progress of a relationship between the main character and another
  • external political events are having an effect on the main character and plot
  • a dynamic that is happening in the community that is increasingly causing more and more trouble

If I was plotting the Star Wars, I would have a column and cards for things like…

  • Every mention and use of the Force
  • The scenes where Darth is trying to flip Luke (convert to the dark side, join him, etc)
  • The times Han tries to get the hyperspace drive to work and fails
  • Every mention and ramifications of Han owing Jabba/having a price on his head
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If I was plotting for The Avengers I’d have a column for everytime Captain America says:

I can do this all day.

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Am I right in thinking that, essentially, there’s no wrong way to use the Plot Grid? As long as I have the Scenes well organised and ordered, the rest is down to personal preference and way of working?

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I’m sure that’s true but as a newcome too I found the best way to work with plot cards is in the Manuscript section. Here you can create chapters and scenes and notes at will and drag them around.
The fact you don’t see chapters in the actual plot grid view only a list of scenes makes it a bit awkward when you have a hundred scenes or so. Much more easily dealt with at a basic level in the Manuscript view. Though you need to go back to the plot grid to bring in plot lines. That would be a lot easier if the scene cards were broken down by chapter and could be folded down at chapter level too.
Still getting head round it…

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This is actually why I use Plottr more than Dabble’s Plot Grid. Confuses the hell out of me! If Plottr could export to Dabble, it would have been awesome, but damn, it exports to Scrivener and Word only.

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Hi there,

I’m new to Dabble and I’m trying to figure out the Plot function but my plot grids dont give the option of the two different types of grid. Has it changed since that was discussed here?

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