Whether you are a plotter or a pantser, every writer sometimes stops and looks at their WIP and wonders if it all makes sense. Pretty much every time your write something, the plot changes from what you originally planned and that is okay. If that happens it means you are doing something right, it means your characters are challenging your god-like authority and doing what they want anyway. You have to be open to deviations to the plot and change accordingly and that is why it is so important to start writing after the initial info dump stage, in order to see where the story takes you. Then you need to come back and centre yourself once more, to see what direction your story has now taken and familiarise yourself with it.
This revision stage can mean different things for different people. It can mean revising the whole plot from beginning to end, or changing only certain parts, or even making it more comprehensive and not really changing the plot at all. It depends on what your story needs. For instance, with my story I had most of the beginning and middle planned out but the ending was sparse. My revision included filling those gaps and fleshing out the various plot lines of other characters that had to be put in.
- I like to use MS Word because I find that it is the easiest tool to use. I open a new document and name it "Revised Plot" and write it up in a table. However, I structure my table in a unique way which enables me to have my main plot and subplots side by side. This helps me make sense of what is supposed to be happening at the same time and aids in structuring my writing because I split my table at times where I need to put in a section focusing on the subplot or the villain's story. Doing it this way also helps me perceive how the story is flowing and if it makes sense. Take a look at the document below because it may not make sense unless you see it.
- I always break up my story into "Beginning", "Middle" and "End". I refrain from breaking my story up into chapters because I feel that is way too suffocating and restricting. You can always break it up into chapters on your third of fourth revision of your draft.
- Here is where the confusion and uncertainty as to the merits of your story will disappear. You need to re-write your plot from beginning to end in order to know it inside out and backwards. By doing this you will see the holes in your story and fix them, you will flesh out the details and you will familiarise yourself with the changes your characters have inflicted upon your initial plot.
- I write it in dot points and keep it fairly to the point, but I do not talk about the setting other than say where it is taking place, i.e. in the desert or in X's castle. I do not talk about what the characters are wearing or what the place looks like. This gives me creative licence to expand the story the way I see fit as I write, hence why I call it "plot-ansing".
- I use black font for the storyline, and red text for notes to indicate dream sequences/or flashbacks and green to remind myself to foreshadow. I also like to insert in blue the hidden reasons why actions happen, just to remind myself.
- I break the table when something significant in the timeline happens to indicate when things occur. For instance, "war begins" or "war ends". I also note when my main plot and subplot converge.
I hope that this has been informative and do not hesitate to ask any questions below about this if you have any questions. This is such an important step and you should take time to do this properly. I warn you it may take a long time because you need to figure out the logistics of your story but it is worth it in the end. Doing this will help you overcome flow problems and will ensure that your story doesn't contain a saggy middle.