There was a request on the Plotcasters twitter feed about what the sticky note plot looks like when it’s on the wall and why the colored stickies are important. Great question! It’s difficult to visualize a physical process just from an auditory podcast, so our team has decided to do some short videos to support the podcasts. In the meantime, I’ve done two screen captures of plots that I’ve done in the past and will explain them below.
The image above is a sticky note in progress. It was built using the same color of sticky notes because that’s all I had on hand and I wanted to get the ideas down before they slipped away. The 3-act structure is above the notes, and there are not many ideas yet. Later, I re-wrote the sticky notes and used colored stickies to visually delineate the acts.
This is a screen capture from the recording of a workshop I did. It was the second half of the workshop, and I was explaining how to include a B story in the plot. The acts are separated by colors, and the B story is denoted by smaller stickies. You can see the difference that the colored stickies make. Just by glancing, you can see the 3-acts and the Turn. In a ‘live’ plotting process, you can also see at a glance how many of the scenes get moved from act to act. I like to keep track of the those changes visually. It reminds me to keep the story fluid instead of locking it into pre-conceived notions.
This is the sticky note plot for Toy Story, which I didn’t write of course. In the workshop, I broke down the story to point out the key scenes and to show how the B story drove the main story. It’s fairly neat for a sticky note plot, which can get pretty messy, especially when I start putting strings on the notes to connect story threads.
With questions coming, Episode 6 of Plotcasters will be a Q&A about the sticky note process, the three-act structure I use, key scenes, character development, and just about anything else you’d like to ask about writing. Feel free to leave questions in the comments below or send them via Twitter. We will collect them two days before the podcast goes live and answer as many as we can. Episodes 7 & 8 will be about the B-story.