As some of you know, I've been taking a course on plotting for pantsers by paranormal romance author Suzanne Johnson. I don't write paranormal romance, but the lessons are just as applicable to sci-fi and fantasy! She is taking us through several lessons a week which are helping me develop my basic plot ideas and characters. I am learning tons, but even if I wasn't, the course is keeping me accountable and making me actually get the work done.
One of the most interesting techniques she uses when plotting is planning relationship arcs. I've never thought of doing this before, but it makes perfect sense and is so helpful in defining the plot. What you do is take your main characters and match them up with every other character in the book and define their relationship at the beginning of the book and how it changes at the end (if it does change). You can also define the relationships between your supporting characters (the important ones, anyway), and this really helps to lay the groundwork for your novel.
It is a lot of list making, but I am already seeing the plot of my novel unfold as I work on this.
Have you plotters out there ever thought of doing this? What are some of your techniques?
If you are interested in reading more about Suzanne's plotting method, you can check out her explanation of it here.