Layout in vertical column, with side notes

I’m new to Graphviz and dot. It seems ideal to separate content from presentation.

I would like to lay out a graph like this (created in OmniGraffle):

Graphviz/dot has it’s own opinion about this, and does this (sorry, I had to pixelate the text):

Is there a way to convince the layout engine that a certain line of items should be vertical, and other items would be adornments connected to those central items? (I did try weight=n, but it didn’t work consistently.)

If I understand what you’re after, I think this will help, but the more stylized you want your graph (the more you want to manage the positioning), the harder it becomes.
[if you want to continue this, there probably is an anonymousizer program in your Graphizer package (probably in /usr/share/graphviz/gvpr)]
digraph vert {
graph [rankdir=“LR”]
{
rank=same
x1 [label=“a note here”]
x2 [label=“some parameters”]
}
{
rank=same
s1 [label= “Step 1”]
s2 [label= “Step 2”]
s3 [label= “Step 3”]
}
{
rank=same
of [label=“Output File”]
}
x1->s2
x2->s3
s1->s2->s3
s2 -> of [dir=backward]
}
vertical1