The Series Series, Part 6: Tracking Plot Details
Some novelists use index cards or Post-it notes to build a storyboard, because they allow for manipulation of the sequence of events in quick and immediately visible ways – but for tracking the many elements of a series over several books, a spreadsheet may be a better choice.
Whichever method you choose, the elements to consider keeping track of include:
- Book Number / Title
- Chapter Number / Title
- Scene Number
- Time / Time Frame
- Location / Setting
- Central Problem/ Conflict
- Action / Events
- Surprises / New Information
- Open Questions
The last item is particularly important when it comes to avoiding red herrings and tying up loose ends. Make note of any questions, puzzles or mysteries that come up in the course of a chapter so that you can track when, where and how they get resolved.
Of course tracking plot details for continuity is different than crafting a plot in the first place – but keeping a record of the myriad details can be helpful when it comes to plot development and the editing/revision process. On the Children’s Book Hub, we have spreadsheets for both crafting plot and tracking the details, but you can create your own by copying and pasting the above elements into headings on a spreadsheet.
Next up, continuity of voice…