Posted by: Jodi | October 11, 2010

Plot Flowcharts

There are probably hundreds of different ways to organize a plot line but when I saw this I knew I had to share it.  The creative minds at XKCD have created a movie narrative chart that is as useful as it is fun to look at, here it is:

Click here for the full size version

I wanted to give it a try with a plot that most of you might be familiar with, “The Princess Bride” movie.  This was the best I could do without resorting to paper and pens.  Click on the image to zoom in.

I thought this was a great idea to help keep things organized, let me know what you think.

Happy Plotting!



  1. That is pretty creepy looking. Amazing how complex it can get. I’ve also used the mind-mapping softward Freemind for plotting, though it seems to work better for organizing notes.

    • Haven’t heard of Freemind, I’ll have to look it up – thanks for the heads up!

  2. I’ve done this before. There is a piece of software called Witers Blocks which supports an excellent form of flow-charting, it’s free, I think, as well–or very inexpensive.

    I was really excited when I saw that Pirimer was included with the charts, then when I saw it, not so much. All the movie is about time travel, there are more characters than displayed, and not so many loops. I think someone is playing a joke on us with that one.

    Still, cool post.

    • I’ll have to check out Writers Blocks – sounds like a great piece of software. Between you and Michael I’ll be “in” on all the cool tools. I think the Primer one is a joke as well, would be insane to try to map out a time travel plot chart. Might be fun to try…

  3. Oh my god, I shudder at the horror that is Lord of the Rings. Thank god I’ll never have any desire to write Epic fantasy. I like your Princess Bride one, looks nice and orderly 🙂

    • I really wanted to make one in the same style as the ones by XKCD but time was a problem and my handwriting another one. Still would like to someday. The Lord of the Rings in my favorite because it captures each event so clearly.

  4. I love Twelve Angry Men. And that’s my kind of plotting . . . twelve parallel lines. 😉

    Nice job with Princess Bride . . . and with embedding your work to share with us.

    • My husband had to rent 12 angry men after seeing the chart, just came in Netflix so I know what I’ll be doing tonight!

  5. very interesting. mind boggling, really. thx

  6. Clearly I need to learn more about plotting. I’ve never tried anything similar to this.

    • I want to sit down and do it with my current manuscript to see how it looks, I don’t know how helpful it will be to the writing process but it might reveal issues with the flow.


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