Plotting the Plot: Creating Cheat Sheets
At this stage of the plotting process, you’ve already established the basics and you’re writing faster. The one thing that can help you get even more progressive is by creating a cheat sheet that you can use as your reference. With several events, characters, places, and other elements included in your plot, it can be hard to remember all the details. This is where the Cheat Sheets come in.
Here is a list of Cheat Sheets you can make:
- Story Timeline. Trust me, this will come in handy. You want to avoid confusing yourself and your future readers with the period of the story. Somewhere along the way, you might forget that your character is a teenager and you have him talking as an adult. Or maybe you unconsciously end up writing an event that wasn’t supposed to happen until the latter part of the story. It’s difficult to keep track of everything so this Cheat Sheet will become your reference. You can double check before writing an entire chapter of the wrong time period.
- Notes of Places. This is for the “where” of the story. Take note of all the important places and give them a short description. This way, you’ll be more consistent in describing them as you move along the plot. This will also remind you when the characters should go to these places and what’s about to happen to them there.
- Characters’ characters. Review the name spelling, the personality, the physical traits, mannerisms, basically all the details about your cast. Somewhere along the way you might mix up character names or ages and this will serve as your reference guide to double check the details.
- Sequence List. This cheat sheet will remind you of the major scenes you want to include in the plot. You might be thinking ahead too much and miss out on writing some of the most critical scenes. Create a sequence list so you can refer back to your original ideas.
- Your personal timeline. The Plotting Process takes time. It may take months or even years to complete and finalize your story. You can’t pinpoint the exact date you’ll finish but it doesn’t mean you have to go on blindly. In fact, establishing an estimated turn-around time will give you more motivation to finish your work. Setting up deadlines will help you set goals for yourself. This is your own personal cheat sheet. Create a rough schedule of when you want your story to be finished.
Keep in mind that these “cheat sheets” are not mandatory in the plotting process, they are merely supplementary items that may help you progress faster. Consider them as your additional fact references.