International plot consultant, author of the Plot Whisperer books for writers and founder of PlotWriMo, I help transform stories. As Secrets of Personal Transformation visionary, I help transform lives.
30 April 2010
Love Letter to a Writer
29 April 2010
Moves a Character Makes at the Climax
27 April 2010
26 April 2010
A Shortcut for Writers on a Spiritual Path
22 April 2010
Ascent to the Climax for Writer and Protagonist
21 April 2010
Definition of Plot for Writers
Plot is a series of
deliberately arranged by
cause and effect
conflict, tension, suspense, and/or curiosity
to further the
character’s emotional development
So, what does that mean?
Plot is a series of scenes that show outward action. Scenes are in the now, the physical, moment-by-moment. Action is a scene marker, as is dialogue. Think of each scene as its own little story.
B. Cause and Effect
Plot is a series of scenes deliberately arranged by cause and effect. Cause and effect means that each scene comes directly from the preceding scene. One scene causes the next, creating a satisfying story for audiences because each scene is organic. From the seeds you plant in the first scene, the next scene emerges.
C. Dramatic Action
Plot is a series of scenes deliberately arranged by cause and effect to create dramatic action. Dramatic action means that the scenes played out moment-by-moment through action and dialogue include conflict.
D. Conflict, Tension, and Suspense
Plot is a series of scenes deliberately arranged by cause and effect to create dramatic action filled with conflict, tension, and suspense. Story is conflict shown in scene. Conflict, tension, and suspense force the audience members to the edge of their seats. Conflict, tension, and suspense are built through setbacks, not through good news.
E. Character’s Emotional Development
Plot is a series of scenes deliberately arranged by cause and effect to create dramatic action filled with conflict, tension, and suspense to further the character’s emotional development. More than anything else, readers identify most with the characters. Characters in a story allow you to tell the story through their eyes and hearts, help advance your story's s plot and theme.
We connect to one another through emotion. A character able to “show” an emotional response to the conflict and action engages the reader, while a character who merely “tells” how she feels about what happened is boring and often unbelievable. A character’s action or behavioral response to conflict, during the event itself and later, in relating the conflict, is most compelling to an audience. Your audience needs to understand and care about your characters who represent the heart of your story. Emotional meaning always comes from your characters.
F. Thematic Significance
Plot is a series of scenes deliberately arranged by cause and effect to create dramatic action filled with conflict, tension, and suspense to further the character’s emotional development and create thematic significance. Thematic significance ties your entire story together. It is the main thrust of your presentation and what you hope to prove through your story. The theme is the why: what you want your audience to take away after having read your story. The deeper meaning of the story becomes the thematic significance of the story itself.
20 April 2010
Universal Story and Plot
13 April 2010
Light a Candle
- Show up daily for your writing
- Light a candle
- Ask for guidance and support
- Begin writing
- Quit writing before you begin to lose energy for what you are doing, before you begin to trash talking your work, before you despair. Quit while you're still in the flow, feeling good about yourself and the process of creating something out of nothing on the page
- Blow out the candle
- Ask the smoke to take your thanks and gratitude for your writing to the source of all creation
12 April 2010
Planning Your Plot
Plot your story plan using the universal story form for structure and impact. The universal story form is the framework for developing a gripping story. Rather than creating a dry, episodic list of scenes to cover, arrange your story by cause and effect to best engage the reader.
Think of the plot planner as the route or map of the journey you envision for your story. When you first plan your plot, your route is likely to be sketchy with lots of gaps and dead ends. These gaps will smooth over and fill in as you come to know your story and characters better. Along your story route, the plot elements of dramatic action, characters, and thematic significance will rise and fall, like waves cresting. The flow of these elements is like the flow of energy the Chinese call “qi” (pronounced “chi”). The qi is the mainstay of life force, inherently present in all things.
Within your story, the energy undulates. Although every story has its own energy, a universal pattern of energy rising and falling repeats itself. The greater your understanding of this stable format, the better able you are to determine where and when to allow the energy to crest, to create a compelling story. Allow the energy of your story to direct the flow of your story. The closer you can re-create this pattern in your presentation to the readers, the stronger and more compelling your story. A plot planner helps you map your story's energy and direction.
10 April 2010
Mother Knows Best
08 April 2010
Stamina for Writers
06 April 2010
Shift from Wantabe to Writer
01 April 2010
Plot Your Writing Schedule
- Finish the first draft
- Write the final draft
- Submitting the completed manuscript
3) Work backwards on the calendar. Count the number of days between today and your deadline that you can realistically write. Example: 61 days total
4) Ask yourself how many words, pages you can write in a day. Example: 5 pages
5) Estimate how many pages your entire first draft. Example: 320 pages total
6) Where are you now? Example: Page 100
7) How many pages left? 230 total
8) Calculate how many days total needed to write the pages left at the rate you currently write. Example: 46 days total needed to write 230 pages at 5 pages per day.
9) Subtract the number of total days needed from the total number of days between now and your deadline. Example: 46 from the total number of days between now and your deadline 61 = 16 extra days.
10) Mark a daily schedule on your calendar not taking into account the extra days.
The concrete task of scheduling times and goals for each writing day makes you more realistic about your writing goals, allows you to visualize your writing life, gives you the short-term goals necessary to achieve your long term goal.
Now, the question is, what's your writing dream?