Plotting a novel

One of the hardest things about writing a novel is coming up with a plot. Okay, I have a story idea and a main character, but how do I create situations that keep the story moving? This can seem a huge mountain to climb.

EM Forster, the author of A Room With A View, famously said plot is “a narrative of events, with the emphasis on causality… The king died and then the queen died is a story. The king died and the queen died of grief’ is a plot.”

The other day while Googling plot, I stumbled across a method J.K.Rowling used in her books. She produced a hand drawn plot spread sheet and in the columns listed the repetition of themes, characters, places, ideas etc, so she could see at a glance how they evolved.

Author Stuart Horowitz prefers the term “series”, not plot, to describe the method Rowling used. I think this is a more helpful and fruitful way to think about plotting a novel.

So I’ve started to use this Rowling approach in plotting the novel I’m currently working on. And I have to say, it certainly does make it easier to keep track of what happens and what needs to happen in the story.

Series” is what author Stuart Horwitz says shodislikes the word plot