Can Plottr help you plan better fiction stories?
While there’s no denying that a great plot is essential for successful fiction, there are multiple ways to come up with one.
Some authors outline their work in granular detail, breaking down their story into chapters, scenes, and even moments within scenes. Their actual writing process involves fleshing out an incredibly detailed story skeleton they already have.
Other writers are advocates for an approach known as pantsing. They might have a few key story details in mind at the start, but they largely develop their plot as they write. Stephen King likens this approach to gradually excavating dinosaur bones and discovering their shape as you go.
If you’re a believer in plotting your story in advance, to whatever extent, then you should read this full Plottr review and discover what Plottr does and whether it could help your planning process.
- What is Plottr?
- What does Plottr do?
- What Plottr does not do
- How much does it cost?
What is Plottr?
Plottr is a very specialized software solution that allows authors to plot their books.
Unlike other writing tools, Plottr doesn’t offer its plotting functionality alongside a writing and editing environment. Instead, this is a dedicated app that focuses only on planning your story before you sit down to write it. You’ll need a separate tool to write the story itself.
Now that the basic concept behind Plottr is clear, let's explore the features it offers, whether they are worth it and if Plottr is the best solution for your needs.
What does Plottr do?
Plottr provides you with a visual overview of your story’s plot, allowing you to outline your story with or without a template across desktop, laptop, or mobile devices.
As well as giving you a clear visual path to follow as you write, Plottr also allows you to store information relating to your story so you never need to worry about contradicting yourself when it comes to important details. If you write complex works of fiction with many characters and locations, having all the info you need accessible and available is very convenient.
Plottr also supports the ability to store all the information related to a series of books within one handy location. Some authors like planning out epic series of books, often in the fantasy or sci-fi genres, before they even sit down to write. So, if that's the way you like to work, Plottr could be the tool you're looking for.
If you consider Plottr within the wider world of specialist author software, you’ll notice it’s a very specialized tool.
Of all the authors who write fiction, only a certain number like to outline their work visually. Of those that do, only some will see the value in investing in a premium software solution that does that alone.
However, that's not to say there isn't value in Plottr. Having a tool that does one thing, and that one thing very well is often the way to go.
Let’s explore Plottr’s functionality in a bit more detail.
Plot your story with templates
Having to come up with a structure for your story from scratch is hard. It's not just hard, it's inadvisable.
Effective story plots typically follow certain structures, such as the three-act structure or hero’s journey, whether knowingly or unknowingly. Sticking to a story structure that readers love is a good way to ensure your fiction doesn’t end up meandering and boring your reader to tears.
If there's a particular story structure you want to use for your next fiction project, there's a good chance that Plottr supports it with a premade template. These templates can save you a lot of time and frustration by providing the structure to which you simply need to add your story.
The premade story structure templates supported by Plottr include:
- The Hero’s Journey
- 12 Chapter Mystery Formula
- 7 Point Plot Structure
- 8 Sequences Method
- Action Adventure Plot
- Romancing the Beat
- Shonen Manga
- Dan Harmon’s Story Circle
The list of story starter templates is often expanded. You can find templates for general fiction as well as those with a genre-specific focus.
As well as the templates included with Plottr, you can modify existing templates or create your own.
Plot your story without templates
You might prefer to plot your story according to a structure that isn't included in the templates bundled with Plottr or to come up with a new type of structure entirely.
If that’s the case, Plottr still supports the way you work. You can plot without a template, and even create a template from the structure you end up using.
Most authors will probably benefit from the convenience of using a premade template, but these are by no means restrictive.
On an emotional and personal level, readers engage with characters more than any other story element.
For example, Stephen King fans certainly respect The Overlook Hotel, but they have a sense of empathy for Danny Torrance.
Plottr helps you develop characters that will connect with readers and give your story the human touch it needs to succeed.
You can create character cards easily in Plottr, allowing you to see a visual image connected to each character if you like, along with other information such as custom notes about them.
Plottr also provides character templates you can use in a similar way to plot templates. For example, a premade character template allows you to quickly store information about each character’s goals, motivations, and conflicts, both internal and external. The character fields are also fully customizable so you can add whatever information is useful to your story specifically.
Build worlds and design places
Creating a convincing setting for your story is important for fiction of any genre. However, it can be argued that certain genres, such as fantasy and sci-fi, lean more heavily on worldbuilding. In such instances being able to store incredibly detailed levels of information about your story's setting adds to its richness and the level of enjoyment readers experience.
The places function of Plottr is kind of similar to its characters feature. For each place, you get a card that features an image associated with the place (if you want one), a summary of the place, and customizable fields. For example, if you were writing a sci-fi epic featuring different alien species and governments, you could add info related to those aspects for each place in your story.
Plottr also allows you to filter by place. So, if you wanted to, you could see all the plot points that take place within a certain place with the click of a mouse.
Which devices is Plottr compatible with?
Plottr advertises that it’s compatible with all major devices, including:
- Apple iOS
- Mac OS
However, if you want to use Plottr on multiple devices, you are required to pay a higher subscription rate. We’ll break down the different costs in a later section of this review.
Can you use Plottr on iPad?
Yes, Plottr is compatible with iPads. However, there's no word on whether you need a certain specification of iPad or iOS to run Plottr properly. Also, if you want to run Plottr on your iPad as well as other devices, you will be required to pay more.
What Plottr doesn’t do
It’s just as important to know Plottr’s limitations as well as its capabilities. This is a very specialized tool so it won’t be right for everyone.
Unlike other writing software, Plottr does not offer functionality related to:
- Writing your story
- Editing your work
- Formatting your book
- Exporting an eBook file
Plottr is purely for outlining books and book series and storing information related to characters and places.
If that’s the type of tool you’re looking for, Plottr is a good fit. However, it’s more limited than a lot of other book software.
What are the pros of Plottr?
Hopefully, you now know what Plottr does. But does it do it well?
In our eyes, the main pros of using Plottr include:
- Created by an author. The original creator of Plottr developed the tool based on the outlining needs he had for his independently published fiction books. It’s always reassuring to know software is created by someone who gets your needs as they are similar to their own.
- Upgraded over time. There's nothing worse than software failing to evolve and offer bigger and better features over time. Plottr received regular updates and bug fixes and its users can vote on the roadmap that details its next steps.
- Specialized functionality. Some writing software is almost overwhelmingly full of features. While the swiss army knife approach is right for some authors, others find it exhausting and would rather invest in a tool that does one thing and one thing well. Plottr is an example of the latter approach.
- Proven story templates. When it comes to effective fiction story structure’s there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Plottr is preloaded with the types of plot outlines readers love so you can focus on telling your unique tale.
- Works on different device types. Sometimes inspiration strikes while you’re on the move. Plottr’s compatibility with mobile devices means you never need to worry about a moment of inspiration getting lost while you’re out and about.
Overall, Plottr is a great choice of software for writers who need a specialist outlining solution that works across desktop, laptop, and mobile devices alike.
What are the cons of Plottr?
No software solution is perfect. Naturally, Plottr has some drawbacks.
In our opinion, the downsides of using Plottr include:
- Limited functionality. While some authors will love the fact that Plottr is focused on outlining alone, you might find it to be less than ideal. If you’re looking for an all-in-one solution, Plottr isn’t your best bet. Tools like Scrivener offer everything Plottr is capable of as well as a lot more.
- Free/cheaper alternatives. Plottr is nicely presented and a pleasure to use. But does it do anything you couldn't achieve with free access to Trello? If you're just starting on your author journey, Plottr is probably an unnecessary expense you can avoid.
- Extra costs for multiple licenses. Maybe you’ll disagree, but it’s slightly irksome that using Plottr on five devices costs $40 more a year than using it on three. There’s no real extra cost to the makers at that stage. It’s pure profit for them.
- Subscription model. The pricing for Plottr is a little strange. You can either pay on an annual or lifetime basis, with no monthly model available. If you buy an annual subscription, but don’t renew it, your version of Plottr will still work. However, you won’t receive any updates or bug fixes. A simplified approach to pricing would probably go down well with most authors.
Overall, the major downside to Plottr is it does less than other cheaper tools like Scrivener.
Admittedly, it has a far easier learning curve, but that’s only to be expected with a much simpler tool.
How much does Plottr cost?
At the time of writing, Plottr is available on either an annual subscription basis or a lifetime one-off cost. There are three payment tiers available for each option, depending on how many devices you need to run Plottr on.
If you want to pay for Plottr on an annual basis, it costs:
- $25 for a single device
- $45 for three devices
- $65 for five devices
If you prefer to purchase lifetime access to Plottr, it costs:
- $99 for a single device
- $149 for three devices
- $199 for five devices
Only you can decide if these price points represent good value for your needs as an author and in comparison to other software for author options on the market.
Is Plottr legit?
So with everything said and done, what’s the final verdict? Is Plottr legit? Is it a good investment for authors to make?
We can recommend that Plottr is a legit tool that various bestselling authors praise and use as part of their successful writing careers. We also firmly believe that the founder of Plottr developed the tool as a result of his own outlining needs.
If you need a dedicated outlining solution, Plottr is a great choice. However, if you’re looking for a solution that does everything Plottr is capable of, plus a whole lot more, we suggest checking out Scrivener instead.