NOT YOUR USUAL SUSPECTS

A group blog featuring an international array of killer mystery, suspense, and romantic suspense writers. With premises and story lines different from your run-of-the-mill whodunits, we tend to write outside the box. We blog several times a week on all topics relating to romantic suspense and mystery, our writing, and our readers. We welcome all comments and often have guest bloggers. All our authors can be contacted separately, too, using their own social media links.

We find our genre delightfully, dangerously, and deliciously exciting - join us here, if you do too!


Julie Moffet . Cathy Perkins . Jean Harrington . Daryl Anderson . Nico Rosso . Maureen A Miller . Sandy Parks . Lisa Q Mathews . Sharon Calvin . Lynne Connolly . Janis Patterson . Vanessa Keir . Tonya Kappes . Julie Rowe . Joni M Fisher . Leslie Langtry

Friday, December 22, 2017

Visual Plotting

In my day job I work with a lot of visual elements designing online learning courses. I use videos, photographs, drawings, charts, and typography to help users learn. The power of image and stories are hard-coded in our DNA as a survival mechanism and make for great learning tools. Knowing that inspired me to look at ways to use visual elements to plot my books.

I’m certainly not the first to come up with this methodology. One of my best plotting efforts using images came from a workshop given by Jennifer Crusie. We collected images from magazines, found objects, basically anything that caused a visceral reaction relating to our works in progress. It was an exhilarating experience I’ve used many times. But that made me want to explore other visual ways to plot out my stories.

Steampunk Collage

Sketchnote from an eLearning conference
While I don’t have a deep hatred of synopsis writing like some authors, I feel like there must be a better way to uncover hidden elements in a more visual way. I’ve experimented with snippets of videos (think book trailers), mind maps using sketches (think Sketchnotes), collages (a la  Jenny Crusie), and even an infographic. 

What I’ve concluded is that any one of these methods may work for you on any given book—the catch is to pair the right method to a particular story idea—and be willing to experiment with different ideas when you don’t feel a connection to your chosen method.


Infographic of my romantic suspense novel, Jayhawk Down

Have you plotted out any stories using visual methods? What worked for you? Any colossal failures?

2 comments:

Cathy Perkins said...

The second I saw your title, my brain went "Jenny's collages!"
Fun to make but, yeah, I couldn't plot a book that way. Isn't it interesting how many different ways we learn and process information?

Sandy Parks said...

I'm a plotter but also someone who has to visualize a story before I can work on it. Liked your infographic and actually found the questions asked and flowchart of the Sketchnote could be used for a lot more things than just the book plot in our business. Thanks for sharing.

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