How to Revise Your Novel with Plottr
What is Plottr
So, you have a story. Better yet, you completed the first draft and happily typed ‘The End.’ You know it’s not really the end, though. Now comes the fun part, rather, the pulling out your hair and swearing as you wrangle that bad boy into something that sizzles on the page—a story with heart that keeps the reader reading. The process of revising your story from discombobulated, cliche riddled first draft to bestselling-I-can-retire final draft (a girl can wish, right?).
There are a ton of software apps available to help you focus, organize your work, and if you write screenplays, format them. The latest entry is Plottr. Plottr is a software app for well, plotting. Priced at $25 for life with one year of updates and an optional $25/yr for renewals, the software has a customizable timeline feature, outline, templates for characters, and places, with the ability to create tags and more. So much more. I purchased it almost two months ago, and during that time, the developers have made many improvements, some of which are taken from the Facebook group. They are very responsive – like respond-to-you-within-the-hour responsive – if you post in the group.
Pantser? No Problem
So you may be thinking, cool, cool, cool, but I’m team pantser, I’d rather clean the litter box with my bare hands than sit down and plot out a book. Just give me a keyboard, and I’m good. Pantsers like to let the story unfold as they write and discover the characters and the plot along the way. I get it. I’m part pantser, part plotter myself. However, lately, I’ve been leaning more towards plotting before I write the story because it saves me from fixing an unwieldy saggy middle. One of those is enough, and hopefully, sit-ups will help with the first one. I’ve been using Plottr to reverse engineer my latest novel as I work on the second draft.
Reverse Engineer Your Story
Usually, I just edit as I write – which is painfully slow going, especially since I would just keep going over it until I was satisfied. Then came Scrivener, which allowed me to be more intentional with my structure. Now with Plottr, which can export to Scrivener, I’m going back over my story and plugging it into a three-act structure. They have various templates you can use for the timeline, including Michael Hauge’s Six Stage, Romancing the Beat, Jami Gold Romance, and more. If you are working on a series, it can keep your series ideas all in one place.
Revising Made Easy with Plottr
By writing one-line descriptions of my scenes in Plottr, I can track my inciting incident, plot points, and use tags to track the POVs. Basically, I can track whatever my little heart desires. I can set it up however I want. For this particular story, I took the scenes I had written in Scrivener and plugged them into Chapters and Acts (using the four-act structure) to make sure the pacing was on point. A visual look at the timeline let me know I’m on the right path. I could also see where additional scenes were needed and plugged them in. I then exported the outline to Scrivener and will begin revising the text because you can’t write your novel in Plottr – it is not a word processing tool. Its strength is in the ability to customize the timeline to create your plot, whether you do it before or after your story.
I also loved being able to customize my character template with the internal and external goals and the ability to add pictures. Makes my character sketch easy on the eyes visually.
But I Have XY&Z, Do I Really Need Plottr?
Times may be tight, with the pandemic and all. So do you need to buy another app? Probably not. I love buying writing apps almost as much as I love buying new notebooks. It’s my jam. Fellow notebook hoarders know what I’m talking about. But, if you are looking for an inexpensive tool to help you organize your story in an appealing way, I would definitely recommend giving Plottr. While it’s integration with Scrivener is not 100%, it doesn’t export the notes, it’s still helpful. I also like working in it without having all the baggage of the actual text of the book. A different platform helps me think about it differently, and it’s cleaner. They offer a free trial, so check it out.
There are affiliate links on this page, I will make some change if you purchase some of the products mentioned. It won’t make me rich, but it will help out a writer who has not written that bestseller yet.