I Made a Pretty: Why Flowcharts are Awesome
At least I think it’s pretty. Perhaps too many colors, but I can’t help myself!
This flowchart is a very basic overview of God-Chosen’s plot. Using this, I can see how my subplots interact with my main plot, what areas need more work (look for questions marks), and what my specific goals should be for each area. This is also incredibly helpful for those dastardly query letters, since I can easily discern a basic summary, including all three major disasters.
One of the fantastic things about Visio is linking Excel documents to your diagrams. This means I can click on a shape and have the scene list for that act or disaster immediately at my disposal. It’s really quite handy. You of course have to make a scene list in Excel, but you do that anyways, right?
I drew this chart out by hand first, which I’ll show you later if I can manage to take a decent picture of it. The benefit of diagramming by hand is the freedom it allows. In my hand-drawn diagram, I have little notes detailing which characters were introduced, which ones died, and where in the plot this all took place. This would be difficult to do in a program like Visio, though still possible.
Drawing things out by hand first feels much more relaxed. You focus less on making it look pretty and more on writing your ideas down. Diagrams and charts (in this sense, at least) aren’t meant to be perfectly coherent. They’re meant to help you along the road to coherence.
I blame Everett Maroon for my sudden enthusiasm with flowcharts, though not in a bad way. While I’ve been using FreeMind to organize myself, I never thought of creating a streamlined flowchart in Visio (or at all, for that matter) until I read Ev’s post on diagramming. I think I’ll make a flowchart for each main character, as well, since my current diagram is more plot-based than character-based.
I’m actually kind of excited to make another one. Does that make me strange? Oh wait, I’m a writer. I am strange…