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Using Plottr To Outline Your Novel

What is Plottr?


For many writers, having an outline is helpful. For even more writers, having a notebook or journal where you keep all the information about your book's setting, the characters, the history is important. Lots of novelists call it their "book bible." Plottr is a digital version of that.


In Plottr, you can outline your novel and even a series! It's great for those who want to save space or don't particular like the hassle of carrying a notebook or binder with them as they work on their current WIP (work in progress). I began using Plottr a few years ago and while I don't use it for every project, there are many cases in which I find it helpful. So, if you're a writer and maybe need some place to store your notes and ideas, here are some things to note.

What are some of the cool features?


Plottr has a lot of features, so I am going to share some of the ones that stick out most to me.


The Plot Lines feature is great. Plot lines allow you to see your A plot, B plot and any other plots you have right on the same screen as well as allow you to keep track of what is happening through all times. You can also give each scene of your novel an attribute. What conflicts take place in this scene? Whose POV is it? What is the mood like, lighthearted? Tense? These are just some of the moods you can create (and color coordinate!) Add in the fact that you can search and filter throughout your novels and series and it's easy to see what mood, characters or POVs are prominent throughout your storytelling.


Some more standard features include the scene cards and outline features. There are also character charts that you can customize. Plottr has templates for this as well, you can fill out a character's personality trait as well as things that may not make it on-page in book one but play an important part in book 2.


Moreover, Plottr integrates with both Word and Scrivener, which is really nice. You can have your scene cards all laid out for you when it is time to start writing! While there are other cool features, these stand out the most to me, feel free to look at some more!


Pros & Cons


Pros:

  • They have an app that is available on both iOS and Android.

  • There is also a PC version.

  • They have tons of templates for novels and short stories.

  • Templates for characters as well.

  • You can keep all your notes in one space.

  • You can create a series. This allows you to see various notes that you have for all the books in that series.

Cons:

  • It's pretty costly.

  • Unless you pay for PRO, even if you have both the phone app and the PC app, they won't sync without the use of a 3rd party app like Dropbox. This can be a bit of a hassle.

  • The save function, at least on PC, isn't always guaranteed to work. Personally, I have lost some heavy work after thinking my notes and outline were saved but they weren't. NOT FUN. And while there is a way to recover, it would be better if hitting the "save" button meant it was saved 100% of the time.


Is Plottr Worth It?


So Plottr has two types of plans, annual and lifetime. They are just as they appear, you can pay for an annual plan or pay for lifetime. In the long run, lifetime is a lot less expensive. Within those two plans they also have three options, Classic 1 Device, Classic 3 Device, and Pro 3 Device.


That means that there is basically six options to choose from.


For Lifetime, here are the prices:

  • Classic 1 Device: $139 USD

  • Classic 3 Device: $149 USD

  • Pro 3 Device: $299 USD


For Annual, here are the prices:

  • Classic 1 Device: $39

  • Classic 3 Device: $49

  • Pro 3 Device: $99


Now this is important to note! If you get the annual Pro account, you can only use it for a year. This means you won't have access to that work you did prior to the account being deactivated. However, with the Classic annual plans you do! This is most likely because Pro has a lot of extra features like auto-syncing, collaborating and saving to the cloud. But it is still really odd to me. With the annual plans, you only get one year of updates, so you'll still be able to use Classic after that year but you won't get any of the new features. And the Plottr team does roll out new features on a pretty consistent basis!


Now, is Plottr worth the expense? If you are a planner, someone who outlines a great deal, then I would say so. Additionally, I do believe that if you are a writer who constructs large universes and there are characters appearing in various novels or you tend to write long series, then I absolutely believe this can be a valuable resource for you. You won't have to scroll through Word wondering what your villain's last name was or what hairstyle the protagonist's best friend always wore. It will be right there in the character outline. In these regards, it is pretty valuable.


How about price point? I really don't like the pricing of Plottr and I know that not everyone is able to afford it. That being the case, I say while it should be on your peripheral, it may be better to wait when Plottr is having a sale. In fact, I got my Plottr account for a small discount (Classic 3 devices). Or, if you are a part of a few writing communities, you may find out that they are partnering and/or sponsoring an event here or there and get a discount. I got mine during a Camp NaNoWriMo for 15% off. There are other virtual events that sometimes coordinate with Plottr as well. Plus, they usually have a sale going around Christmas time, where you can get a discount if you are hesitant to pay the full price.


Let me know if you'd be interested in learning more about writing software! Be sure to share this post and follow me on socials!

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