Sometimes, I get confused as I add more and more ideas and scenes in a plot, is there any way of arranging these?

  • Do you mean like a program that will allow you to add and rearrange scenes as you work on your novel? Commented Mar 13, 2011 at 4:32
  • @Ralph Gallagher maybe writing techniques may work too.
    – wyc
    Commented Mar 13, 2011 at 4:45

4 Answers 4


Buy a bunch of 3x5 cards and write plot elements on them, then organize them into a line or a tree or some other visual representation that makes sense to you. Play around with orders: put everything chronologically, then put it how you intend to tell it. When doing this, you can also decide what not to tell by removing cards and seeing if the action still makes sense. You can use highlighters to color-code different cards: either by character or by importance or by storyline, or whatever criteria you feel is necessary.

Keep in mind, not everything that happens needs to be known to the reader. It might make things easier to write if you can figure out how to decide what they won't see. Certainly make cards for every event that happens, but remember that just because you made a card does not mean you have to write about it in the story.

  • Totally agree with this. I use Scrivener too, but sometimes it's nice to have it physically there (and a wall generally has much more real estate than a computer screen!). I admit, I'm probably biased because I have a few walls filled with index cards planning out my plot and the world, but it works.
    – Lexi
    Commented Aug 17, 2011 at 10:47

I highly recommend using Scrivener. It's an amazing Mac program that now has a Windows beta version. It takes Turnips' flash card idea and lets you do that in the program. You can also write the scenes and rearrange and add scenes as you need to.

  • beat me to it! :) Scrivener has a "cork board" screen which lets you move around virtual note cards so you can rearrange bits to your heart's content. You can write each chapter, section, or scene as an individual document and rearrange them. Commented Mar 13, 2011 at 16:26

You could try using a simple spreadsheet. Use the rows to represent characters or events and the columns to represent time frames or locations. You can put each of the elements into place to get a visual representation of your story flow. This will not only help you to develop a consistent timeline, but also to make sure that you don't have any characters showing up in two locations at the same time.


I've used various methods. Right now I'm using the "Windows" based POST-IT notes and have created a "story board" using their memoboard. I also copy the data to a flash drive to use on others PCs.

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