Tools for Using the Story Genius Method to Plot Your Novel

I recently read and fell in love with Lisa Cron's Story Genius and Wired for Story books. What I love most about them is how much sense they make --and how they avoid all sorts of busy work. The structure Cron suggests for plotting your novel is, in fact, genius. 

I decided last week that one of the reasons I don't write is because I'm overwhelmed with the idea. To sit down and work on my novel sounds like sitting down to eat an elephant. It feels impossible.


Tools for Plotting Your Novel with Story Genius

My novel is also very often out of sight, out of mind. So I decided to do two things: One, I decided to chop the elephant in to small pieces--to plot my novel, so I only felt like I had to sit down and write one scene instead of the whole novel.

And two, I decided that I wanted my novel to take up physical space in my life--and also I just really wanted an excuse for more notebooks and new office supplies because for some reason washi tape, highlighters, and fancy pens make my heart go pitter patter (I know, it's weird).

I decided that I would plot my novel on the back of my closet door so when I wanted to write, all I had to do was open the door and see where I was at with my writing process.

But I couldn't plot my novel yet because I didn't know much beyond the beginning (sort of), middle (mostly), and end (depending on how all the rest worked out I had a general idea of what would happen). So to plotting I went, with the following tools: my Story Genius book, an unused spiral notebook, and my freshly typed up Story Genius Checklist (to download a copy, click here)..

Using my spiral notebook I wrote out most of my answers to the questions on the checklist, using the book to refresh my memory as needed. I'd done some of the work before, but going back through I realized things had shifted and changed so I revised and scratched out and circled and finally got to the big scene-writing stage.

That's where I am at right now: about to sit down and write my origin scene (here is the scene card I'm going to use, a blank, editable version of the printed version in the book)

***Please note: The checklist and blank scene card and the ideas and words they contain belong to Lisa Cron. All I did was type up a checklist and editable scene card for use in my personal writing practice. None of the ideas are mine--only the formatting. Additionally, these tools are most effective if you have the Story Genius book and have read it already. There are so many explanations in the book that obviously wouldn't fit on the checklist.


Want to join me? I'm considering hosting a Six Months to DONE group for novelists and creative nonfiction authors who want to finish their book in six months. Click here to get on the list if you are interested!

{Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, but I solemnly swear I only recommend things I use and love myself!}

Tools for using the story genius method to plot your novel
Ashly Hilst2 Comments