How do you Post-it Plot? The answer is simple. Any way you want.
I first learned about Post-it plotting two years ago at a small, intimate writer/reader conference. Two wonderful authors described how they both used sticky notes on a presentation board, mapping out the twists and turns of their storylines while keeping tabs on all loose ends that needed tying off. Feeling determined on my ride home, I stopped at my local Staples, purchasing a presentation board and a plethora of Post-its. Then I sat down on my comfy, leather couch and looked at both in complete puzzlement, asking myself, what the heck do I do now?
After about a year and a half of neglect and a thin layer of dust on both the board and Post-its, I finally discovered a process that worked for me. I’m a pantser, so my idea of plotting is very fluid and free, changing when the wind blows a certain way or a main character declares that they just don’t wanna. I’ve realized now that to become a great writer you have to listen to advice and sometimes adapt it in a way that works best for you. So, here is some advice on Post-it plotting. Adapt what you need and file the rest away for never.
This is what my presentation board looks like for my current WIP. I try to jot down one sentence or clue on a single sticky note and place that note where I think it falls in the story. I originally used a white board, but I like how the notes pop on the black background better. The boards come in all different colors. So feel free to be as creative as you want.
I’ve broken my board down into scenes and each sticky note describes a point in a particular scene. Some sticky notes have dialog or character descriptions and I color code accordingly. The note may or may not remain in the same location through the finish, but that is the beauty of this process. Moving notes/ideas around is so easy. Most importantly, you can literally take a step back and look at the big picture.
I also incorporated a Parking Lot, which is something I borrowed from so many corporate team building meetings. The Parking Lot houses notes that don’t have a home in the story just yet, but that I think will find their way in somehow. Again they might end up on the cutting room floor or be used for outtakes. Regardless, they are easily available whether I need them or not.
That is my process for Post-it plotting in a nutshell. I know while I grow as a writer this may very well change, but change is good, and inevitable. Be the Post-it note and just enjoy the ride.