Sign In Sign Out

Inkers Con

Close this search box.

3 Plotting Techniques from K.A Linde

Bestselling authors K.A. Linde and Alessandra Torre gave an Inkers Con presentation in 2019 called Outlining for Pantsers. They shared their outlining tools, best practices, and productivity tips. 

In the presentation, K.A. shared three plotting techniques that she regularly uses:

  1. List and Story Arc – K.A. explains that she starts by creating one long list of all her scenes on a sheet of paper. They are listed in no particular order. After you have a list of everything you know about the story – then start putting them along the story arc. 

2. Basic Beat Sheet – K.A. creates a basic beat sheet for her novel. She creates four columns and puts 25%, 50%, 75% 100% at the top of each column. Then she adds her scenes into the columns and in the order on the storyline they fall. She finds this helpful to keep her pacing correct as she writes the story. 

This example of a beat sheet in a horizontal design is from Save the Cat: Write a Novel by Jessica Brody.

3. The W method – The W method of plotting your novel is another way of laying out your scenes based on key events in the story. You draw out the W, with each point being a major event in the story. Then you place your scenes along the path.  

After discussing her three key methods of outlining her novels, we asked – what if you get stuck? What do you do then? 

K.A. shared a concept called your ID list. She got this idea from Jennifer Barnes, a professor of pyschology. An ID list is a list of all the things you love in a novel. For K.A. her ID list is twins, insane asylums, and waterfalls. It can be anything that makes you love a novel. 

“When I really don’t know where the plot is going or I feel really bored in the scene, I can check my ID list and see if there’s a way I can insert one of these things that I really love, and that will bring the joy back into my story, and it’ll spark something that will allow me to be able to move forward.”

This post is an adapted excerpt from K. A. Linde and Alessandra Torre’s 2019 Inkers Con class, Outlining for Pantsers. Explore our newest conference classes here.

K. A. Linde is the author of more than thirty romance novels and a USA Today Bestseller. Kyla has additional information about her books, freebies, and newsletter on her website.

The upcoming 2024 Inkers Con conference offers dozens of brand new classes (including Between Pantsing & Outlines: The Skeleton Draft by Steff Green), Q&As, author discussions and more! Join us in Dallas or online!