07 May 2012


In the middle of my keynote plot workshop, I begin to pick up a dull hum in the background of the main ballroom. Pre-occupied with holding my balance as I launch more than 200 writers deeper into their stories, I flick away the distraction like an irritating fly. The noise grows more distinct. A couple of writers are talking at one of the seats-eight round dining tables strewn with papers and plot planners. Their conversation persists into my explanation of the next step of the workshop. Others at the table scoot their chairs away from the voices to focus on mine.

I turn toward the chatting duo.

"I have difficulty masking out background noise." The last thing I want is to embarrass anyone.

Perhaps I said more. All I remember is feeling calm in the silence that followed my words.

After the keynote, I received lots of gratitude from writers for speaking up. Later, upon my return home, more thanks came via email. Also in my inbox was a note from a writer taking full responsibility for the disruption.

She adds after her apologies that she was giddy over the light-bulb moment she had about her story and had to share it with her friend.
What can I say to that? Her excuse reflects exactly my stated intention for the keynote: to take the writers deeper into the plot and structure of their stories... At least for that writer, I know I succeeded.
To familiarize yourself with the Universal Story and the basic plot terms in the above blog post:

1) Read The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master (The companion workbook is coming this summer and available for pre-order now ~~ The Plot Whisperer Workbook: Step-by-step Exercises to Help You Create Compelling Stories)

2) Watch the Plot Series: How Do I Plot a Novel, Memoir, Screenplay? on YouTube. A directory of all the steps to the series is to the right of this post. 27-step tutorial on Youtube
3 Watch the Monday Morning Plot Book Group Series on YouTube. A directory the book examples and plot elements discussed is to the left of this post.

For additional tips and information about the Universal Story and plotting a novel, memoir or screenplay, visit:
Blockbuster Plots for Writers
Plot Whisperer on Facebook Plot Whisperer on Twitter