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The Plot Function

I’m heartily confused by the plot function in Dabble. I can’t seem to get my head around how to set up scenes, and plot lines. Looks like the scenes are in the far left column, but then how do you use the adjacent columns? I think that I don’t understand how to use the whole index card system for plotting. Anyone have any resources or explanation that might help a poor noob writer out? Thanks in advance!

Your question gives me the opportunity to put an older post of mine back up:

How I use Dabble’s plot grids
I am not a plotter, not even much of a planner, I just dive into an idea and see what becomes of it while writing.
But the plot grid in Dabble has really got me interested in shaping the stories/characters etc. further, somewhat separately from my usual approach.

First thing you should know is: there are two types of plot grids to put. An invisible one, and one that is tied automatically to your scenes. Set it up like in this minimal example:

Here some general plot lines, I (have) use(d):

  • ToDo: The good old, something’s missing here, ah, I just put a note down for now … list
  • Time / Technology frame: When is the scene playing, how much time passed since previous events? What technology is available?
  • Space / Landscape frame: Where is the scene playing? What does the environment look/sound like and how does it affect characters?
  • Central Characters appearing in the scene, their objectives, relationship/conflicts
  • Revelations: I guess that’s the major aim of plot points: What do we and the characters learn?
  • Symbols: A list of metaphors and how they develop, e.g. a spaceship that is shiny and swift in the beginning of a story, but battered, rusty and creaky at the end reflects the challenging journey the travelers made. Here, I can keep track of colors and symbols used by fractions/guilds/cults/cultures.
  • For each major character a past/present/future plot line in order to keep track of their (changing) mindset, objectives, relations etc. and a joint character development plot line for minor/recurring characters. This keeps track of cross-overs and conflicts in each scene.

I use invisible plot grids for:

  • A reminder on theatric arcs; “5 stages of …” (grief/life/change) that fit my story.
  • Oh, and I use one plot grid for notes on editing. A check list for each scene which it gets deleted when done, but also developmental (though that’s covered in the ToDo List).

Then I give the cards the general heading and can easily access from each scene if I wanna check e.g. only on the time frame. A complex grid looks then like this:

I hope this can give some ideas and spark some discussion on how to use (and maybe improve) this feature. I use it more frequently than the world building or character sheet, since those are more static to me.

Best wishes,
Chris

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@Chris, I love the way you use your plot grid. It’s so detailed and in depth!

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@Chris Thanks so much for the reply. That was very helpful!

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Wow! I didnt know this was so useful until I tried it like you outlined it. I am digging it.

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Wow Chris. That’s awesome!

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Amazing. I have never been a planner, but this makes sense to me.

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How do I make the invisable plot line? I don’t want it involved in my main manuscript because I don’t want the manuscript affected by it.

Does that make sense?

I have the plot line that changes things automatically in my manuscript. Like if I put a new scene in and I work the plotting feature there, it changes the manuscript.

I want to make the invisable one that does not affect the manuscript in any way.

Thanks for the consideration and your picture and your post.

Stormy

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Hi Stormy,

take a good look at the first picture again:


In the “Plot” section, click on “Create a New Plot Grid” from the first line about generic plot grids.
From there, you can create any structure you like without it interfering with the manuscript by creating new scenes or similar.

I have found for myself that I can use that for any tabular structure, allowing to e. g. note down relationships between characters at in each cell.
I have also started to put some libraries into generic plot grids, like a glossary on technical terms, definitions etc.This can be used for quick reference when building alien worlds or complex political or religious in short tribal systems.

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HOORAY!! It worked!! Thanks so much Chris!
Stormy

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Hi. I wish I’d seen this before I started. I don’t suppose there’s a way to export the book plot grid to the generic plot grid? Except manually?

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I’m afraid, no.
There’s lots of liberty within one plot grid to move single note cards around, but not between different plot grids.

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Yeah, I figured. Thanks for your reply, Chris.

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Hey Joan,

If you reach out in support chat, I can convert a book grid to a generic one for you.

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