You would think the hardest part of a novel is coming up with a plot.  It isn’t.  Anyone can come up with a plot.  We have at least three or four in one novel and keep coming up with more.  The hard part is coming up with a comprehensible plot. To keep the action rising without wandering down side streets into nowhere.  The following are a couple of websites we have used to try to make sense of our plots.

The Plotting Matrix or Rubik’s Cube:

The method described in this post in an interesting one.  It used a box with nine squares to make you think about your plot points and how they are related. I find it very helpful in forcing some organization in the novel.

Beat Sheet for Novels

Take a look at the downloadable spreadsheet on this website. While this is based on how movies are plotted, I find it useful to give us some idea of what should be seen in a novel, but more important, how far in it should happen.  For example, in a hypothetical 80,000 word novel, the “catalyst” scene should occur at about 8,800 words in.  While I certainly don’t intend to consider these guidelines as hard and fast rules, it does give us some ideas of where the novel might be lagging.