Plotting Worksheet Download – Jericho Writers
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Plotting Worksheet Download: Our Free Templates

Plotting a novel is hard. So, we’ve broken it down with our plotting worksheets. These simple tools will help you build a strong story structure, create character arcs, and plan each chapter. With tips like these, you’ll be writing in no time.

Plotting Your Novel

When you start writing a novel, ideas are often easy to think of – it’s getting the plot out of your head and on to the page that’s the hard part.

That’s where plotting comes in.

If you can’t plot your novel, you have absolutely no chance of writing a book that will captivate your readers. So how do you get your story into the right order before you start writing?

This may come naturally to some writers, who prefer to create their story each idea comes to them (editing as they go along). But for those of us who prefer clear markers, plotting is the way forward.

Some people choose to break their story up in to three acts, others focus on characters or the story arc. The truth is there are many ways to plot a book, but you have to figure out what works best for you.

And we’re here to help with our FREE plotting worksheet!


Our Worksheets Include:

  • The 5 main plot points (from status quo right through to resolution)
  • Character arc (where your hero is at the start of the novel and what they learn by the end)
  • Chapter plan worksheet (a step by step guide to outlining each chapter)

By the time you’ve finished filling in our worksheets, you will have a clear outline of your story to which you can start adding more detail.

Download Our FREE Plotting Worksheet

Downloading our worksheets is free and easy!

Simply supply your details to our website (above) and we will email you an easy-to-use PDF to print out or fill in digitally. This also means you can subscribe to our newsletter, full of articles and other free content created to help writers just like you.

Save time and hassle! The prompts on our worksheets will guide you through all the different things you need to cover in order to plot the outline of your novel.

Why Do You Need To Plot Your Novel?

All novels have a beginning, a middle and an end – that’s story structure in its most simplest of forms. When it comes to fiction, people expect a book to have a clear introduction, an exciting and captivating main plot, and a conclusive ending.

But how you do that is up to you…

A story needn’t be linear, it can be written in a variety of tenses or from different points of views, but if you don’t explain each stage of the story then those reading it will get lost, confused or even worse – bored!

Authors must ensure those who read their work keeping turning the pages, and the secret to that is making sure your story is in the right order, spaced out correctly (pacing) and the character development is in place.

Having an outline also makes it easier for you to write your synopsis. A synopsis is a detailed summary of your story that agents and editors ask for when considering your work.

Plotting your book prior to writing it and highlighting the most important parts, means writing the synopsis is easy. Much easier than waiting until you have finished writing your novel then trying to condense 90,000 words into 1,500!

Story Arcs And How They Work

What Is A Story Arc?

A story arc is the emotional rollercoaster your story takes, from the beginning to the end. You need your character to go through various ups and downs, so that those reading the book also feel the same trepidation, excitement, fear and joy your hero does.

Before you start to type up the entire story, it’s important to understand what is going to happen.

Let’s say, for instance, your hero is about to embark on a quest. He must deliver a magical flower to the queen of the fairies or his village will be destroyed.

That, in itself, is not a plot. That is a premise. The plot is what happens from A (must deliver the flower) to B (will he manage it before the village is destroyed?), and the emotional/thematic points that journey covers. And the arc is the highs and lows of the journey (both physical and metaphorical) our hero must take.

When considering your story arc it helps to break it down into 5 parts:

  1. Status Quo (how things are before the big thing happens)
  2. Initiating incident (the thing that kicks it all off)
  3. Developments (the adventure and all the obstacles the hero meets)
  4. Crisis (the part where we don’t think they’ll make it)
  5. Resolution (they make it and we see how everything has changed)

Story Arcs In Action

So let’s look at the above story but plotted via a story arc.

Remember that at each step the line on your graphing worksheets will either be pointing up (things are positive for your main character) or down (things are not going well). It’s those ups and downs that make a story exciting.

Status Quo

What does our hero look like before he’s sent on his quest? What is his world? What does he have to lose? Tell us something about this magical flower (foreshadowing)? Who is the fairy? Introduce the important aspects of the story.

This section is about building the world and setting the scene.

Initiating Incident

Who asks him to take the magical flower to the fairy? Why? And why him? How does he feel about it? Explain how this is about to change everything.


This is the part of the story where all the action happens. As the author you must place obstacles in the path of our hero; his quest can’t be easy, otherwise, there’s no arc or lesson to be learned.


Something dreadful happens to make our hero nearly give up. Yet, all the lessons he has learned along the way will arm him with the knowledge required to complete the mission.


And they all live happily ever after (or, if not, end the tale with hope and/or a lesson learned). Show us how the hero has changed.

Character Development And Themes

As you are plotting your novel, think about character development and the topics you want to cover. Themes may include the power of love, perseverance and resilience, the importance of speaking up… the options are countless.

What Lessons Are They Going To Learn?

The character, as well as the story, need to have a clear arc.

Does your hero change as they progress through the novel? How can that be used to communicate your themes? You may even want to draw bar graphs to show their emotional journey.

Foil Characters

Think about how contrasting characters can highlight one another’s foibles.

If your character is shy, do they meet a confident mentor along the way? If your character lacks courage, do they need to confront a villain that makes them braver?

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are 5 Key Steps To Developing A Storyline?

The 5 key steps to developing a storyline are:

  1. Status Quo (how things are before the big thing happens)
  2. Initiating incident (the thing that kicks it all off)
  3. Developments (the adventure)
  4. Crisis (the part where we don’t think they’ll make it)
  5. Resolution (they make it and we see how everything has changed)

What Is An Example Of A Plot In A Book?

A plot is more than just a storyline, it’s the crucial pivoting point that everything revolves around.

For instance, the plot of Little Red Riding Hood isn’t that a little girl must take food to her grandma via the woods, it’s that a wolf has eaten her grandma and is pretending to be her, so Little Red Riding Hood must learn to be alert before she’s eaten next.

Time To Plan That Novel

Now you understand what a story arc is and why it’s important to plot your novel before you begin (even if it’s just a simple outline), you should download our FREE plotting worksheet designed specifically to help you get your story in the right order.

And remember, you can use our worksheets as many times, and for as many stories, as you need!