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Author Topic: Flow Charts  (Read 651 times)

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Offline Robin Ryuu

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Flow Charts
« on: February 07, 2018, 06:36:06 PM »
I'm in love with using flow charts with for my stories... I work from cause and effect so this is the best method I've found to piece everything together. They let me see everything at once and if there's any "loose ends/plot holes". I have separate charts for the main parts of the story (the different acts/arcs) and then down to the small details of how the different groups interact within the story. I might be the only one able to understand the mess of bubbles and arrows, but there's a method to my madness I assure you...

How about you guys? Ever try them? Like them or hate them? Have any tips or tricks to share?

Also would anyone be interested if I created a template or tutorial for my madness, I mean method?

Offline Coryn

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Re: Flow Charts
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2018, 09:48:01 PM »
I've always thought it would be cool to have a big board with everything mapped out, but I always fear it will quickly devolve into a scene from a murder mystery with post it notes connected by an indescribable web of string. Although it seems handy for keeping the timeline in check.

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Offline Robin Ryuu

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Re: Flow Charts
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2018, 09:52:48 PM »
Lol, that's why I use the "Google Drawings" option my Google Drive. Stores nicely and I can take it with me.  ;)
« Last Edit: February 07, 2018, 09:55:51 PM by Robin Ryuu »

Offline Echo_River

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Re: Flow Charts
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2018, 10:30:24 PM »
@Coryn oh man, I've always wanted one of those boards. Just mounted on the wall. I imagine it'd make you feel like some sort of mastermind lol.


For myself, I've only used flow charts for a short time, (using google drawings as well - colour coded info boxes!!)
I like it. I find they're useful, especially, as you mention, Robin, seeing if there are anything plot holes. Often I'll have the beginning of the story, and the end, and then slowly fill up the middle. This also helps me with pacing, and seeing if the little events in between work smoothly towards the end... or if the major events seem important enough to keep.

What worked well for me too when using the flow chart for my stories was to start generally, like plotting out the major events I know that are going to happen first, then figuring out the in between. Of course, if you don't know the ending of your story, or conflicts, it can be tricky...

Yeah, my favourite part of flow charts, was the visual aspect, kinda "seeing" the forward direction of the story, and finding out if there's a part that meets a dead end.

Also - organization! :-D Boxes, lines, and text all neatly in a row~ kekekeke....
(you don't have to make them organized though lol. Whatever works best for you. I can't following the bubble mind mapping that well  :( )

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Offline Coryn

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Re: Flow Charts
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2018, 10:42:01 PM »
Thinking about it actually, I did use flow charts toap out the VAN progression. They helped a lot there.

What I've always dreamed of is a wall of an office which is all white board, just for this kind of thing. At my college they had some of these in a few of the classrooms. They were also sliding doors with a big closet behind them.

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Offline Robin Ryuu

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Re: Flow Charts
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2018, 11:25:41 PM »
(you don't have to make them organized though lol. Whatever works best for you. I can't following the bubble mind mapping that well  :( )
That's me lol.

But yeah. The visual aspect does help me too. Writing bit by bit feels like I'm trying to dig to China with a spoon, I know there's an end somewhere buuut... But with the chart I can see the progression and seeing each box fill lets me feel motivated enough to actually get a good portion of work done. And it actually motivates me to write out the parts since I can see it in bite sized chunks.

Offline Robin Ryuu

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Re: Flow Charts
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2018, 10:44:10 AM »
Another note, it helps to switch between separate charts for main events/arcs and scenes/chapters if you get stuck on something.

For Grey: Home for Strays and Lunar Legend, I knew enough about the events I wanted to happen that I just used the arc chart, but with Melody Box I recently split it off of another story and it needed a new structure. To find one, I used the much larger scene chart where events happen by direct cause of the previous one and it was much easier with that one to link together the events and fill out the story (keeping the arc structure I'm using in mind so that there aren't "extra" chapters).
« Last Edit: February 19, 2018, 10:45:49 AM by Robin Ryuu »

Offline MisterSherbetLemon

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Re: Flow Charts
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2018, 03:38:39 PM »
I use mindly when I'm travelling on the bus to map out the stuff I've written in detail and it definitely helps me spot the little inconsistencies.

Offline Robin Ryuu

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Re: Flow Charts
« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2018, 02:40:13 PM »
I've fixed up a bit of an example piece showing how I use flow charts to plot out my stories. I used the first half of Grey's first arc as my guinea pig (with some bubbles edited out to prevent major spoilers ;)).

https://docs.google.com/drawings/d/1w8Pje6J1JJg8ozEVGgWmCcswX8pcK77mhsDjFJIz92Q/edit?usp=sharing

As you can see, t's sort of a hybrid between a spider chart and a time line. It helps me see possible interactions/conflicts between characters/groups and helps me not forget a character and have them be "idle".

  • The colored arrows represent the different characters. If several arrows converge at a bubble it means that set of characters interact somehow.
  • The dashed lines that cross several bubble lengths indicate that there has been no significant change in the characters actions during the time the line spans.
  • The stacked bubbles show what each character or group is doing at the same section of time.
  • The color of the bubbles represent which point of view you'll see the scene from.
  • The background is divided according to an act system I like to use to help with pacing and staying on course (you'll find the link to it in the lower left corner).

I hope this helps anyone struggling with figuring out their stories or just keeping track of their characters.

Offline suupertramp

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Re: Flow Charts
« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2018, 04:03:11 PM »
I have always considered using flow charts, very similar to your example, thanks for sharing.
I think I just never get around to it because I just keep doodling rather than actually committing to a story.
Probably the only difference if I did one would be more linear and square text boxes :P
By linear I mean all events that are "public POV"or "character X POV" go in their own line , etc.
I would probably avoid color coding for the most part and so label everything more implicitly as I go.
This is kinda inspiring I want to go and make some cool flowcharts now, although I probably wont :P

Offline Robin Ryuu

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Re: Flow Charts
« Reply #10 on: June 12, 2018, 04:07:49 PM »
Well the cool thing is that this is just an example of one way that it can be done. Of course you should do whatever works the best for you.

(Psst, try it! Go go go!)