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Plotting With Excel

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Tue Oct 23, 2007 9:45 am
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Swires says...

Plotting is often considered a hard, boring and perilous task to complete by writers both young and old. Many writers find themselves buried in maps, character sheets and plot outlines and its easy to get disorganised, and more to the point – it is easy to lose track of a story!

However has anyone really thought digital? Computers save time and are great for organising things, it is fascinating when writing combines with computing. Then it hit me: Microsoft Excel. This is a program that 90% of people have lurking around and apart from math homework it is rarely ever used.

Microsoft Excel can simply be explained as a big, never ending table, great for plotting. This means that characters can go at the top, each can have a column and the scene numbers can go down the sides. Then, quite simply you can start to fill out what happens, chronologically to your characters throughout the story.

One handy tip is paragraphing in Excel: Enter doesn’t work, you have to use Alt + Enter when typing to get onto another paragraph.

Another useful tip is to format the spreadsheet so when typing words start at the top of the cell. To do this highlight all cells (or click in the corner to select all) and right click. Then click format cells, click the alignment tab. Underneath “Text Alignment” is “Vertical” click the drop down box and select “Top”. Enter and there you have it.

Plotting in Excel keeps things organised for me and I enjoy it because its so much more clear than handwriting. I have included part of Scall’s Magic plot below. ... -sheet.xls
Previously known as "Phorcys"
Witherwings Harry Potter RPG

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Thu Nov 15, 2007 7:51 pm
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Rydia says...

I'd never considered doing that actually and I might try it. Only for the sake of doing so though and a bit of fun. I don't think it's something I'd use regularly. There's something about having all your plans hand written in a plastic wallet that feels right to me.
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Fri Jan 04, 2008 4:20 am
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Nate says...

That's actually not that bad of an idea. I've been using Excel more and more lately, and I suppose using it to help organize my story would work well.
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