Generating a plot graph is a great way to visualize your overall story. It's relatively quick and easy to do and can reveal problem areas in your story that feel flat or stagnant. You can later go back and decide if these areas could use a bit more action or emotion to avoid the "sagging in the middle" syndrome.
For my graph, I decided to plot intensity over time, but I've seen graphs that use other labels like misery over time. Use what ever makes sense to you and your story. Before starting with my wip, I thought it'd be good practice to plot a story we all know and love, Cinderella. This is what I came up with:
It's pretty basic, but all the major plot points that matter to me are there. Remember, this is my interpretation and your graph of Cinderella (should you choose to do one) would look slightly different than mine. So what we see is a nice build of events (rising action) over the course of the story until we reach the climax in Act III followed by the dénouement (fancy word for outcome or settlement).
Next, I tried the same technique on my wip. The monster I've been working on for almost 3 years now. The one that's finally in the editing phase but that's still over 100K... : /
Here is my result.
My first reaction was, "Looks spiky." Act I seems pretty crazy yet by Act III, things seem to slow down with the exception of two huge spikes. But how does it compare with Cinderella? Well, my dear Watson, lets find out:
Okay, let's analyze this real quick.
The first thing I realized: I'm not writing no damn Cinderella story. (;
Second, I may need to tone down some of my spikes (intense scenes) or at least spread them out a little better. Another thing I see is my need for more romantic elements, not just action points. The other huge difference is the dénouement. I don't have one. But I already knew that. Is that okay? I don't know. The dénouement actually comes in book two. But as a first time author, this will probably make it harder to get published.
So after thinking about this I naturally became pretty insecure about my writing and my story, again. On the one hand you have Cindy's
Have you ever done this kind of mapping? Has it helped? How do you visualize your story structure/plot?