Novel Plotting Worksheets

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There are hundreds, possibly thousands of articles on novel plotting on the web. There are a few plotting worksheets, with spaces and questions for you to fill in your own work – some of them are good. But I couldn’t find what I wanted, so I decided to make it and share it with you all.

novel plotting

The “Plotting Worksheet” is for writers who have scattered ideas (maybe a conflict + its resolution) that need to be worked into a basic plot structure. It is 1 page, bare bones, easy to view at a glance.

The “Plotting Worksheet with Prompts” is the same thing with questions to prompt your answers, in case some of the steps confuse you or you are familiar with different terminology, etc. It is two pages, and gives you more to chew on as you plot.

plotting prompts

Note: if you are in the early stages, it might be easiest to fill in this worksheet out of order. For instance, you might only know your inciting incident and your climax. But from climax, you can work backwards to deduce your darkest hour, etc.

I hope this helps. Of course, every story is different, and there truly are no rules to plotting. This isn’t meant to be “the right way” to do it – just a good place to get started. Tweak as desired. You can work out your sub-plots using the same worksheet. And don’t forget to flesh-out your characters with the Characters Chart Template.

Happy plotting!

View the full list of available organizational documents.

All documents are © Annie Neugebauer. These documents are intended for personal use only. Copyright applies. Please ask permission for anything other than personal record-keeping. If you’d like to share these with writers you know, please send them the link so they come visit me here. Thank you all so much for your support!

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  • Thanks for the useful plotting worksheet. Plan to use it for my next one which I’m battling wrt conflict! Louise

  • Meghan Schuessler

    Great plot worksheets, thanks! 🙂

  • Thanks…that’s just what I needed!

  • Anonymous


    just wanted to say thank you! I came over here through a link on Roni Loren’s blog last week, and I downloaded your worksheets and just let them sit on my desktop without even looking at them. This morning I opened them and the timing was just perfect – this is exactly what I need after fighting a messy, chaotic battle with an old story idea yesterday, trying to force it to make sense. I got somewhere in the end, but it’s still messy. This will really, really help to organize my thoughts. So: thank you! 🙂

    • You’re so welcome! And thank you for letting me know — all of you guys! I’m so happy that so many of you are finding these worksheets helpful. And thanks for sharing them with your writing friends, too! You guys rock. =)

  • These are great! Super helpful. 🙂 Thank you for sharing them!

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  • Von

    Oh my gosh, thank you so much for sharing these!!! I mentor beginning writers and these will be VERY helpful. You are awesome for making them available. 🙂

  • Aaronjsayers

    That’s great! Thanks very much!

  • Nikzoo

    This is perfect! I won’t admit how often (or long) I have searched for something like this to give me the boost I needed to get my scribbles and ideas still in my head in an organized form. Thanks so much!!

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  • Henry Thomas

    Thanks for the plotting sheet ive been looking for one for ages to start a novel 😀

  • Monkey

    Thank you so much this is amazing information.

  • Anne O’Connell

    Hi Annie,
    Thank you for sharing these templates. I’m such a ‘pantser’ but have realized that unless I’m sitting down all day, every day writing my novel from start to finish, I can’t possibly remember which plot points I’ve covered and which ones I haven’t without some type of tracking mechanism! I don’t like to be too formulaic as I prefer to let the ideas flow naturally, however, when the flow of ideas comes out chaotically (because that’s just how my mind works) I need to have a better method of capturing and tracking them without losing the momentum (not to mention the plot). This will work beautifully for me!


    • That’s wonderful! So glad they’ll be helpful to you, and thanks for stopping by.

  • Aowyn

    Amazing thanks so much from a first time writer.

  • Kinsey

    wow! this helps so much! im planning on really getting into writing and this helps very well! thank you

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  • Lord Horn

    But I want to marry you. 🙂

  • Alexander

    Really eager to try these except when I click it, they are downloaded onto my computer, and so I went to go open them, and it’s gibberish? I.. I don’t know what to do 🙁

    • Alexander, I’m so sorry! I’m really not sure why that’s happening. I’ve just had a couple of people test it, and they didn’t have that problem. It is a Word document, so all I know to suggest is make sure you’re opening it with Word and not Notepad or any other program. If you still can’t get it, please let me know and I will either add a PDF version or email it to you personally.

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  • Michelle

    Thanks for the worksheets! These will be really useful 🙂

  • Yvette Willison Rock

    this is exactly what I needed. thank you for an incredible, valuable resource!

  • Kathleen Ann Anderson

    This is great Annie. This time around I decided
    to outline. I’ve been doing that, but then I came across this outline and see
    that it’s setup superbly. Thanks. P.S. I’m hoping you have paypal. That’s the only thing I use online.

    • I’m so happy to hear that! I do indeed use Paypal, and I see that you found it. Thank you very much, and happy writing!

  • Katy

    The best tool I’ve come across for writing. Will be using this for all of my writing to come. It really helped me flesh out the specifics and even just ‘plot’ in general for my novel, which I was really beginning to think was going to go nowhere. I can’t express how grateful I am for this! 🙂

    • Thank you! I’m so happy to hear that. Best of luck with your novel!

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  • godlessgarden

    Just found this worksheet via Google. It was surprisingly useful for me in plotting out my story for NaNoWriMo this year. Thank you very much!

  • Katy

    Filling out another one of these right now. NaNoWriMo is next month and (contrary to the normal, ‘No plot? No problem!’ approach to November) I like to be prepared! It’s actually the first novel idea I ever had. Urban Fantasy/Romance. The entire fantasy world the book is about has been floating around in my head for over a year now, so worldbuilding is already taken care of, and I have a general plot in my head, but I always have trouble with a climax. Having it down on paper will really help next month! 🙂

    • Awesome! You sound like you’re going to kick some NaNo butt with this one. Good for you for being so prepared. I hope the worksheet helps! Best of luck with it!

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  • Aaron Jernigan

    Thanks for sharing!!!

  • LisaD

    Wow, such a useful site! Thanks!!

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  • debby johnson

    thank you so much for the worksheet with prompts. It has made my writing possible! I ranted on about it in my blog I hope you don’t mind. Thanks again!!

    • What a wonderful thing to hear! I’m thrilled that they’ve helped you so much, Debby. Thank you for sharing them and for letting me know!

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  • Michael Scivoli

    All of your worksheets have helped me a ton with organization (something I struggle with). Thanks!

  • Sarah Fehrenbach

    Thank you Annie for the concise blog post! The worksheets have proven to be very useful.

  • MarshaMarshaMarsha

    I was wicked happy, (and grateful) to find such a detailed plot template that is so interactive, (and in Word, allowing for tweaking the customization as needed without starting from scratch). It is SO well-researched, comprehensive and thorough; obviously this is composed for a writer by a writer, who takes her craft seriously. This has made my transition into the new software like changing a worn, comfortable pair of jeggings for a new pair of jeans that make my ass look amazing! If anything lucrative comes of this, (I’m unsure as yet if I would market the book I am using this outline for), I will be sure to give you the props you deserve, (and then some)!

    • This is just the best comment, haha! I’m so glad you found the worksheets helpful. 🙂 Thanks for making me smile!

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  • Fajar Priyanto

    Hello Annie!
    I found your blog by chance in Google. Thank you very much for sharing the template and knowledge 🙂

  • Kit Warner

    Do you have them in any other file type? I cannot open .doc files on my computer :/

    • No, I don’t. I’m sorry; I’ll put that on my list of things to add here.

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  • sarah

    I LOVED the one with prompts. I’ve been having a hard time figuring out how to really grasp the story and I think this helped me realize what I wanted and needed to put in. I am really thankful.

  • Nerio O. Brillantes

    Do you know that you’re beautiful. 🙂

  • Nicole

    Ok my question has nothing to do with templates, but there are several writers on here that might be able to help me out. There are amazing ideas in my head. Some I’ve been working on for years. The reason is that I’m not sure when to stop. The longer I ponder the idea the better I make it. So, I’m conflicted on when to stop. When do you know that you have made the best of the idea to start really completing it? When are you certain that idea won’t get even better with time?

    • I feel your pain, Nicole! I think all writers struggle with this in some way. It’s the same with editing; when is it as perfect as it can possibly be? When do you stop editing it and send it out? There’s no right answer, because there’s no such thing as a “perfect” story, nor a perfect idea. So everyone has to find their own balance. I usually work on an idea until I feel really excited about it, and then I start. Good luck!

  • Mia Foster

    Wow! I have just wrote my best most detailed plot line ever, I am so excited to write this now. Super easy though took me forever to do, in a good way I think.

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  • Angie Rega

    Wonderful plotting worksheets! Thank you. 🙂

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  • Kylie

    These were AWESOME! Thanks so much.

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  • lanibelle

    Thanks for these! Just sent a few dollars your way because I’ve been looking for sheets just like this. 🙂

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  • Thank you for this! <3

  • Veronica Schultz

    This plotting worksheet (I used the one with prompts) is fantastic! I’ve never found an outline system that really worked for me before, which resulted in just trying to figure everything out through free-writing. While this has served me well (or semi-well) for short stories, it really isn’t a viable option for anything longer. For the first time I’ve been able to plan out an entire story before making a mess of a notebook or document, just in an hour or so. I’m ecstatic that I found it. Thank you!

    • I’m so glad it’s helping you, Veronica! Thanks for letting me know. 🙂

  • Sarah Ann Conley

    Hi! I’ve downloaded the worksheet, but it won’t let me open it because I don’t have office. Is there another way to open it or is there another format available? Thanks so much!

  • Mark J Bundy

    The Novel Plotting worksheet has been such a great help with focus and direction! I write purely for enjoyment and have only written short stories, but I recently decided to try something a little more ambitious. I suffered shotgun blast syndrome with my plot, characters and theme. These worksheets have really reined my thoughts in! I reach your website by googling “Plot Organization”.

    • Wonderful! I’m so glad it’s helpful to you, Mark. Thanks for letting me know.

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  • Rose Mary Griffith

    Thanks for posting the Plotting worksheets–just what I needed!

  • Jason Allen

    Say you are writing a short story, using the standard short story plot structure chart.
    (Setting,Conflict,rising action,climax,falling action,solution.) for a 1 hour read or 1 hour episode.
    Now if I want to write a two hour Episode, what would my story plot structure chart look like? would it be the same, but with two conflict instead of one?

    • Hi Jason. I’m not really sure what you’re asking; I don’t write episodes, so I don’t know how to answer you. Maybe you could find a resource for TV writing?

  • Kirito Alley

    Love the worksheet. Thank you for letting us use it. It was a very great help. For the first time I will be able to write a solid story, I think. 🙂

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  • Hi Annie. I was looking at worksheets on somebody’s site last week and liked very much. Not sure if this is the one but these sure look great. I don’t have lots of money but will try to kick in a donation via Paypal. Can I do it that way? Enjoy the rest of your week.

    • Hi Terry! Donations are totally optional, of course, but yes, PayPal is how I take them if you’d like to give. I’m glad you’re liking the worksheets!

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