This is my planning process, as it stands right now and exists for this particular story. I’ve switched to using Google Docs so I can work on all the devices that we’ve got or at the library if it comes to that. It’s working pretty well for me.
First I take the rough idea for my story through the 7 Point Story Structure (hereafter referred to as 7PSS). I love the 7PSS. It makes sense to me and it’s the only way I’ve ever been able to successfully rough out a story. What you’re looking at is the “first draft” version. It’s not set in stone. It’ll definitely evolve beyond all recognition before I’m even a quarter of the way into the actual writing process. But it gets me started.
Google Docs has an add-on called, aptly enough, Highlight Tool. To get it click Add-Ons at the top of Google Docs, then Get Add-Ons, then look for Highlight Tool. Unfortunately the Add-Ons are in no particular order and rearrange themselves every time you open them, which drives me absolutely nuts. But Highlight Tool and a couple of similar Add-Ons are there if you don’t mind going digging for them.
That’s Highlight Tool on the right. In order to make my document easier to navigate I’ve created seven different highlighter colors: People, Places, Paranormal, Events, Institutions, Other, and Note to Self. Your highlighters will be different than mine. Once the highlighters were created I went through the document and highlighted the appropriate things.* Now the 7PSS is complete and looks like an Easter parade, and I can see at a glance who is involved, in what way, where, etc. From there I go down to the bottom of Highlighter Tool where it says Export Highlights and click By Color then choose New Document. Highlighter Tool will arrange the 7PSS according to the colors of the highlighters, starting with everything you haven’t highlighted then working down the categories alphabetically while leaving the original document intact.
And there you go. An organized, easy-to-follow outline. 😍
* This is particularly helpful to me because my eyesight is awful but I can clearly distinguish color. Hence everything of mine is color-coded, arranged by category, and/or alphabetized and I lose my shiznit if it gets changed.