Once upon a time I wrote - not mysteries, not sci fi, not romance - computer programs. I designed and wrote the code for a number of software applications. I'm talking old school programming here, very linear. Point A to point B to point C.
One of the standard tools of programming was the flowchart. A simple diagram that showed process, decision points, alternate paths/actions,etc. Done correctly, the flowchart would anticipate any variable that the program or process might encounter and provide a suitable response. It could even include sub-routines that the program could branch onto to accomplish specific tasks and then return to the main program.
Now I'm writing fiction. And I'm the first to admit, I'm a plotter, not a pantser. But as I read and study plot and structure, I realize there's an awful lot of similarity between plotting and flowcharting. A good flowchart gives direction, allows for variables, provides decision points, offers alternate actions, incorporates sub-routines, and keeps the programmer on track so the code is tight and effective.
Sound familiar? At least to you plotters, it should.
Oddly enough, I hadn't thought about flowcharting my WIP until I began to have trouble with my plot. I know everything that needs to happen, I'm just having trouble arranging the sequences. When a friend asked me what wasn't working; I told her it just didn't flow well. Flow? Well, duh. Guess what I'm going to try next.
How about you? Ever used a flowchart? Ever thought about using one to create a plot? Did you know there are tons of free flowcharting tools (including templates to get you started) available on line?
Special Note: A very Happy Birthday to my friend, Maria Zannini. Stop by her blog today and wish her a happy.
My current word count:31,131
I'm currently enjoying: Deadly Heat by Cynthia Eden
Groaner of the day: Two antennas met on a roof, fell in love and got married. The ceremony wasn't much, but the reception was excellent.