Just Post-It

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.

presentation_board

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.

post_it_scenes

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.

parking_lot

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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s