Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login

:icongrimface242: More from GrimFace242

Featured in Collections

Writing a book by TeamPercio

Writing Tutorials by SaigoNakisage

Writing Guides by SpookyMaria

More from DeviantArt


Submitted on
July 20, 2011
File Size
4.5 KB
Submitted with


288 (who?)
What You'll Need:

:bulletblack: A basic story idea

:bulletblack: Printer (preferably laser) with plenty of paper

:bulletblack: Pens

:bulletblack: Three Ring Binders (2) with separating tabs

Build Your World and Characters

For most writers, this comes naturally.  If you're having some issues, there are plenty of tutorials, guides, aids and groups available for assistance.  For the purpose of this guide, you should have your world built and at the very least your main characters devised.  Having secondary characters planned will get you bonus points!

Print Character and Plot Sheets

Each character should have their own sheet (keep the backs blank, they're a grand place to keep extra notes and page references).  It's not necessary that you fill out every single line of the character sheet.  Fill out only what is necessary for the character/plot.  Feel free to add to the sheet as your write, too.  The sheets are there for you to fall back on when you get 30,000 words in and can't remember what color your protagonist's eyes or you suddenly have your antagonist talking to his mother that you killed off in the second chapter (assuming you don't have ghosts in your story).

Each scene/chapter, like characters, should have it's own sheet as well. This one isn't as lenient as the character sheets.  Simply because scenes can't be treated like characters.  Every scenes needs to have a moment of importance.  Something that either moves the plot or exposes a character trait.  You'll need to list characters (definitely main, and if there are any secondary), importance of the scene (what does it do for the plot), key dialogue, vital information received and even the mood of the scene.

Do not feel like you have to have every single scene plotted.  Start out with what you already know and add in as the scenes come to you.  Like the character sheets, leave the back blank so you can add in extra details down the road.

If you don't have character and plot sheets, check the comments below for links to my own sheets.

Create Your Binders

You'll need two. I always buy the same color binders so each novel is color coated. One binder is for your characters and the other is for your plot. 

Keeping your characters in alphabetical order is the easiest way to find them later.  Use the separators to have three or four bulk sections (for example, A-E, F-J, K-R, S-Z).  If you have visual references for your characters, their clothes or jewelry, keep that information with the character sheet.

Arrange your plot sheets in chronological order.  Separators can be used here too. Keep it simple: Introduction – Point of No Return, Crisis (this is the meat where you're constantly putting barriers up for your protagonist to knock down – remember that each problem needs to be harder than the last), Protagonist vs Antagonist and finally your Wrap Up.


Now that you have your world created and your plot planned out, it's time to sit down and do the actual writing of the story.  Use your plot sheets to guide you and your character sheets for reference (when needed).

Print and Proofread

After you've written, print out your scenes and insert them into your binder. It's considered best if you wait until you've finished your first draft to go back and proofread.  That said, if you hit a slump and ideas just aren't coming to you, it often helps to go back and read over what you've already written.  Many times you'll catch a hole in your plot, or even change what you originally designed.  As long as you're not constantly changing your plot, it doesn't hurt to look over what you've already written.

I'd like to start by stating that this is by no means a "this is how you have to do it because no other way works" guide. This is simply how I plan out and organize my own novels.

Here are the thumbs for my Character and Plot Sheets. I'm also including my Mythology Sheets because they help keep gods organized if you're creating a religion/theology. They're currently only in PDF versions, but I'm planning on updating that soon to include ODT (OpenOffice) format as well.

Edit: 8/19/2011 - It was just brought to my attention that I didn't include a note in the comments that this is for the #WritersInk Writing Guide Contest. Bad, bad Grim Face! :ashamed:
Add a Comment:

The Artist has requested Critique on this Artwork

Please sign up or login to post a critique.

Astrikos Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2013   General Artist
:w00t: Thanks for this useful resource! I am starting a novel. :eager:
GrimFace242 Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2013   Writer
Welcome!  Glad it'll help.
StellaStarfish Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2013  Student General Artist
I am so using this. I've been writing this one novel for years (YEARS!) and I still mess up on simple things and i have to go back like 50 pages just to find out, "oh shoot, i had the right eye color this whole time..." or similar nonsense like that. I am starting immediately, thank you so much!! :dummy:
GrimFace242 Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2013   Writer
You're very welcome.  Happy to help.

Even if you don't do everything, sometimes just taking bits and pieces of what other people do will help you improve on your own system.  Writing and plotting is a very personal thing.  And I'm not talking about the story.  I don't think two people plot and prepare to write the same way.  It's not really possible.

If I can help in any other way, let me know.
msfowle Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Wow! I'm so not this organized - good for you! I've been doing it my own way for so long, I think it would screw me up if I changed it.

I may share a link to this on my author site, if that's okay with you. ;)
GrimFace242 Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2013   Writer
:giggle:  You think this is organized?  Take a quick look at how I plot. I'm like a lit boy scout.

Of course.  What's the site?
msfowle Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Misteriousnight Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
This is very helpful! i'm going to use this when i start on my novel. :D
GrimFace242 Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2013   Writer

Glad I could help!
tiptoeling Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
I have a big 2 inch binder... could I use a tab to separate the characters and the plot?
Add a Comment: