Kath here. We are very excited to welcome Martha Alderson, aka the Plot Whisperer, to Writer Unboxed today. Martha is the author of the new plot workbook: The Plot Whisperer Workbook: Step-by-Step Exercises to Help You Create Compelling Stories – a companion workbook to The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master. The third book in the plot trilogy: The Plot Whisperer Book of Prompts: Exercises to Get You Writing is coming out at the end of the year.
Martha has also written Blockbuster Plots Pure & Simple and several ebooks on plot. As an international plot consultant for writers, Martha’s clients include best-selling authors, New York editors, and Hollywood movie directors. She teaches plot workshops to novelists, memoirists, and screenwriters privately, at plot retreats, through Learning Annex, RWA, SCBWI, CWC chapter meetings, at writers’ conferences and Writers Store where she takes writers beyond the words and into the very heart of a story.
As the founder of Blockbuster Plots for Writers and December, International Plot Writing Month, Martha manages the award-winning blog for writers The Plot Whisperer, awarded by Writers Digest 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012. Her vlog, How Do I Plot a Novel, Memoir, Screenplay covers 27 steps to plotting your story from beginning to end.
We’re thrilled that Martha agreed to share her plotting expertise with WU readers. EVEN BETTER NEWS is that Martha is giving away her workbook–The Plot Whisperer Workbook: Step-by-Step Exercises to Help You Create Compelling Stories –to THREE lucky WU community members! Simply post a comment below. Winners will be chosen at random by October 20, and be notified by email.
With no further ado, take it away, Martha!
Pre-Plot for NaNoWriMo
National Novel Writing Month is fast approaching. On the off chance you haven’t heard of the international phenomenon, the official NaNoWriMo site explains: “National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.”
Whether a seat-of-your-pants writer or a plotter, writers who put a bit of time and thought into pre-plotting what they hope to write before jumping into the actual task are more apt to achieve their goal at the end of November.
If you wish to take part in NaNoWriMo next month and plan to prepare for the challenge this month, I recommend that at the very least you identify the 4 major turning points in your story—what I like to call the Energetic Markers.
1) The End of the Beginning scene
2) The Recommitment scene
3) The Crisis scene
4) Climax scene
Yes, you have to be flexible and toss out the pre-plotting ideas if/when the characters bully you into taking a different route. However, many writers find that the pre-planning structural support is comforting and allows them to persevere all the way to the glorious end of finishing the rough draft of your story.
Keep the End in Sight [Read more…]