Every writer is different, so I don't assume what works well for me will work the best for everyone else. I do think it's important to analyze your manuscript for structure. Unless you have a remarkable innate instinct for plot structure that works for every manuscript, or you got very lucky with one particular manuscript, chances are you'll need to switch to the logical side of the brain and do a story analysis at some point. Several tools can help you with that. Experiment and find the ones that work best for you.

Here are several sources for analyzing your plot:

  • My book Advanced Plotting includes a tool for analyzing your plot, plus articles on fast starts, developing middles, plot points, cliffhangers, and more advice on making your work stronger. The Plot Arc Exercise is available as a free Word download on my website
  • Christopher Vogler explained how novelists can use the archetypical structure of The Hero’s Journey, and you can find many examples of those stages online
  • Darcy Pattison’s Novel Metamorphosis offers another way to inventory and analyze your novel
  • Martha Alderson, The Plot Whisperer, has several books on plotting and structure
  • The Blake Snyder Beat Sheet lists 15 plot points. (See also his Save the Cat book)
  • Lee Wardlaw at Project Mayhem shares a simplified version of a Plot Map
  • Here's an example of plot mapping via Caroline Starr Rose
  • Links to cool plot tools from Molly Blaisdell
  • For more story analysis, visit Doug Eboch’s Let’s Schmooze blog on Screenwriting

I'm hoping those links come through as hotlinks. I'll double check after this posts. If you have additional tools you like, please share!