A look at one author's use of a plot outline
To avoid spoilers, I deliberately reduced the font size, making it impossible to read. But even at this magnification, you can see five columns that trace the developments for each major character during the story. The spreadsheet lets me integrate the varying story lines and keep each moving together toward a coherent conclusion.
Once I know how the story will unfold, I choose which character will serve as point-of-view for each scene. Although the series is written in third person, I try to present each scene from the perspective of a single character. This adds drama and suspense since the reader only knows what that character knows.
Inevitably, as I begin to flesh out the scenes, I find reasons to tweak the plot. This is another place where the plot outline is valuable since it reminds me how that change will affect all the other characters. When I make this kind of change, I keep the original version of the plot outline and create a new version. There are times when I've decided to go back to a previous approach and having the older version saves a lot of work.
The plot outline is the backbone for several other devices many writers use to craft novels. I will be sharing more about these in the coming weeks.
Raul Ramos y Sanchez