In the end, I planned my plot the old-fashioned way – with pen and paper.
You can see that I’ve drawn a timeline for each of my characters. It’s not obvious here, but the timeline of all the background events is the one titled ‘Rabble’. I’ve also added extra events for characters as necessary – these events are then added to the timeline of all other characters. Oh, and the first event that’s covered by a spoiler box? It’s the same event for all. This is a major plot point that affects all the characters in some way.
The last column has a dotted line around it – that’s the next major plot point, where everything and everyone is shaken up and left to fall where they will.
It’s not the most high-tech way, but it works for me because I managed to scribble it all down in ten minutes without the need to fiddle around with any programs or elements, and I can see what my characters are doing at a glance. I can also see how something that a character is doing at any given time would affect another.
But although this gives me an overview of what a character is doing, there is no indication of how the characters grow (or need to grow). You could always just add this into the timeline, but I find that it clutters it up. In the next post, I’ll explain how I decide where the characters are at emotionally and get that down on paper for reference.