Perhaps one of the most difficult parts of being a writer is learning how to plot your story in a way that grabs readers’ attention. Some writers are plotters, which means they’re great at making outlines. Others prefer to write spontaneously, or by the seat of their pants. They’re known as pantsers.
Whichever type of writer you are, the general consensus is that writing an outline before you get started helps you write faster and more purposefully. Hence, it also helps you meet your word count much more easily.
The good news is these days, there are plenty of outlining software tools available to help you with the process. Plot Factory is one of these outlining tools that you can use.
What Is Plot Factory?
Plot Factory is a tool that helps you create your story using a dashboard with access to everything you need.
This means that instead of having countless Word documents where you compile information about your characters, plot, worldbuilding details, and many other elements, you can actually keep everything at your fingertips with Plot Factory.
The dashboard includes tabs for you to create universes, stories, character sheets, and questionnaires, among other things. You can also browse the forum or read some blogs for inspiration.
The good thing about Plot Factory is that you can sign up for a free 14-day trial to test out the premium features, or, you can just use their basic free plan, but you can only use it to write one story.
You can access Plot Factory online. However, as of the time of this writing, it’s not yet available as a downloadable app.
How Do You Use Plot Factory?
So how do you use Plot Factory? What are its main functions, and how can it help you with your story?
Here are some of the main things you can do with this tool:
Plot Factory lets you choose from several different outlining options. If you love outlining, you’ll be happy with the many choices! Or, if you don’t like outlining, having these templates will help you get started. You might prefer one of the simpler options.
You can find the following templates under “Questionnaires” or under the “Stories” button:
- The Three Act Scene Maker
- The Three Act Plotting Template
- The Snowflake Method
- Story Premise Worksheet
- Story Beats Plotting Template
Everything you put into your outline can be easily linked to your characters, stories, and universes. Also, you can create several projects at a time, keeping the details for each project all in one place.
Plot Creator Feature
On the other hand, if you don’t really need a lot of hand-holding, you can use the Plot Organizer button instead to create your own plot with acts and plot events.
Plot Factory helps you keep all the information you need about your plot easily accessible in one place. But that’s not all: it also helps you to better understand story structure.
Plot Factory gives you two character sheets to choose from: Basic or Comprehensive. Or, you can also make your own character sheet template that to use for future projects. These sheets help you keep all the details you need about your characters in one place.
The tool also lets you import characters from your other universes. This is a great tool if you end up wanting to use another character that you created with a different project.
Worldbuilding is an important step in writing a story or novel. The challenge is that it can be very overwhelming to compile all the information about your universe in many separate documents.
Clicking on the Universe Creation tool will let you create different areas within your universe, or attach your characters to different universes, and even add a description about the laws that are in place in your universe.
Doesn’t this make worldbuilding so much easier?
Now for the fun part! Plot Factory has a “Stories” button where you can do the following:
- Write your draft in chapters
- Write your book description and other important information about your story
- Re-arrange scenes in your story using the drag and drop function
- Write down notes for future use
- Check your word count and other writing stats
- Share your writing and engage in discussions with others
- Generate names to use
Challenges of Using Plot Factory
By now, you can see the many benefits of using Plot Factory. But, we admit, it does have its weaknesses, such as the following:
1. Multiple dashboards
Although Plot Factory’s main premise is to let you keep everything you need in one place, it does have a Stories Dashboard and a Universe Creation Dashboard that may confuse you at times. You still need to remember where you type in any information you might later need, or you’ll spend some time looking for it.
2. Emphasis on stories limits benefits for nonfiction writers
Well, the name itself tells you it’s focused on “plot,” so obviously, you won’t be able to use it much if you’re more into writing nonfiction. Then again, most nonfiction books thrive on stories these days, so if you want, you may still use the tool to organize your nonfiction book.
3. Lack of a desktop app
Again, at the time of this writing, Plot Factory is only available online. This means that you will always need to be connected to the Internet.
If you like to travel a lot and find yourself in places with limited Internet connection, this means you won’t have access to your stories, which is a real bummer. Also, if you’re one of those people who are easily distracted when connected to Wifi, you might need to look for other story writing programs that you can use offline.
How Much Does Plot Factory Cost?
Now, with all these features, how much do you need to shell out? Plot Factory offers a basic plan with limited features that’s free forever, but you can only write one story on it. When you upgrade to one of their premium plans, you get a free 14-day trial.
For premium plans, you have 3 options:
- Hobbyist membership costs $9 a month, or $90 a year, and lets you create unlimited stories and unlimited universes.
- Enthusiast membership costs $14 a month, or $140 a year, and in addition to what’s offered in Hobbyist, also lets you use the Plot Organizer, Story Questionnaires, and the Sidebar Quick Viewer.
- Novelist membership costs $19 a month, or $190 a year, and in addition to what you have in the Enthusiast Plan, you also get ePub Format Exports, Story Drafts/Versioning, Advanced Word Analysis, Beats Mode, and the Collaboration Feature.
Should You Buy Plot Factory?
Remember, Plot Factory is a tool that can help you, especially if you’re working on a huge project that includes several universes or if you’re writing a series. But, these outlining templates and structures are also things that you can learn to do even without a tool like this, or similar alternatives like Scrivener.
In the end, it depends on the amount of time you’re willing to invest in organizing all your information, or if it’s better for you to spend some money to get them all in one place. But remember that the tool itself will not automatically spell success for you, because you still have to put in the effort to create a compelling story.
In terms of the money you put in, you can use Plot Factory for free if you want to write just one story and enjoy basic features. If you want premium features, picking the yearly subscription is most practical, but make the most of your 14-day trial so you can decide if it will be worth it for you!
Did you find this post helpful? Let us know in the comments below!
If you enjoyed this post, then you might also like:
- First Line Generator Tools to Help You Start Your Story
- Understanding Plot: Key Elements and Examples
- 3 Killer Plot Twists in Fiction: And How They Blow Our Minds
- 176: How to Harness the Difference between Plot and Story with Steve Alcorn
Yen Cabag is the Blog Writer of TCK Publishing. She is also a homeschooling mom, family coach, and speaker for the Charlotte Mason method, an educational philosophy that places great emphasis on classic literature and the masterpieces in art and music. She has also written several books, both fiction and nonfiction. Her passion is to see the next generation of children become lovers of reading and learning in the midst of short attention spans.