The Plot Whisperer: Benefits of Plotting in Scenes + GIVEAWAY

I am triple-fudge-sundae excited to welcome Martha Alderson (aka The PLOT WHISPERER) to The Bookshelf Muse as she sends The Plot Whisperer Workbook: Step-by-Step Exercises to Help You Create Compelling Stories off into the world. This workbook is a companion to the incredibly popular The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master. Martha as you may remember, was featured as a Writing Hero not too long ago, and in true helping fashion, is generously offering a copy of her new Plot Whisperer Workbook to 3 lucky commenters!

Here's Martha on the Benefits of Plotting in Scenes!

~ ~ ~ 

Some writers write by the seat of their pants. Others prefer to pre-plot first, write after. Some write and plot, write and plot, write and plot. Eventually, every writer who sticks with her writing achieves a draft or a partial made up of scenes. The leap from the generative stage of writing scenes to the analytical stage of analyzing what you have written often leave writers frozen or in a tangled heap.

Analyze Your Plot by Scenes
In a scene a character acts and reacts to people, places, and events. In this respect, scenes are the basic building blocks of your story. But, as with any structure, if you have the wrong scenes or if they’re assembled incorrectly, your story can—unexpectedly—collapse.

Before you can create a visual map for analyzing critical story information, presentation flow, and the overall story sequence, you have to have scenes. Likely, you have heard the writer’s mantra: “Show, don’t tell.” Summary tells. Scenes show.

I use the following partial scene from the middle-grade Newbery Medal-winning novel Holes by Louis Sachar, an example for analyzing a scene from my workbook.

Stanley Yelnats has been unjustly sent to a boys’ detention center where the boys build character by spending all day, every day, digging holes exactly five feet wide and five feet deep.

[Stanley] glanced helplessly at his shovel. It wasn’t defective. He was defective.
He noticed a thin crack in the ground. He placed the point of his shovel on top of it, then jumped on the back of the back with both feet.
The shovel sank a few inches into the packed earth.
He smiled. For once in his life it paid to be overweight.
He leaned on the shaft and pried up his first shovelful of dirt, then dumped it off to the side.
Only ten million more to go, he thought, then placed the shovel back in the crack and jumped on it again.
He unearthed several shovelfuls of dirt in this manner, before it occurred to him that he was dumping his dirt within the perimeter of his hole. He laid his shovel flat on the ground and marked where the edges of his hole would be. Five feet was awfully wide.
 He moved the dirt he’d already dug up out past his mark. He took a drink from his canteen. Five feet would be awfully deep, too.

Scenes that Show Emotion
This scene, as do all good scenes, shows moment-to-moment action in real story time. The reader experiences the work as Stanley does it and learns about the protagonist, not because the author tells us but because he shows us through Stanley’s actions. We learn the protagonist is overweight and can laugh at himself. We learn he has staying power because rather than give up and suffer the consequences he finds a way to break the earth open. We learn he is bright in that he quickly realizes his mistake in dumping the dirt within the perimeter of his hole and immediately rectifies the situation.

The details of Stanley jumping on the back of the shovel blade with both feet, leaning on the shaft, measuring the hole, and taking a drink from his canteen draw the reader into the moment of the scene. The reader attaches viscerally to the fleeting happiness Stanley feels at being heavy enough to sink the shovel a few inches into the packed earth, his despondency when he understands how wide five feet actually is, his momentary success in prying up his first shovelful, and his disappointment in counting “only ten million more to go”––not to mention his despair when he acknowledges the full magnitude of the task in front of him.

Create a List of Scenes
A partial list of scenes from the beginning of the award-winning middle grade novel Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan is an example used in the companion Plot Whisperer Workbook.

The novel is set during the time of the American Great Depression and is about a young Mexican girl, who’s sense of self is stripped when she and her mother are forced to leave their life of privilege in Mexico for an uncertain future in the United States as farm workers.

In analyzing Esperanza Rising, create a list of the novel’s scenes (we only went a couple of scenes past the one-quarter mark and into the middle of the story). For your exercise, list your scenes all the way to the end of your story. Shorten scene titles while still capturing the major plot elements of the scene. Each scene title should take up no more than one line of the following scene list.

It’s not necessary for you to have written all (or any) of your scenes. Just list scene ideas in the order in which you envision them landing in your story. If your book is made up of many small chapters, each one encapsulating a scene, list events in the story by chapter.

The trick to this exercise is not to see how many scenes you can list. Instead, you want to identify and list scenes that advance the story on a multitude of plot levels.

Remember that it may take you several tries before you get the list in an order that satisfies you. For this reason, I recommend using a pencil instead of a pen, so you can erase parts of your first ordering and move scenes around. Also remember that it’s often a good idea to try out this exercise using scenes from a favorite book. The more you practice this analysis and construction, the better you’ll get at it.
~ ~ ~

Martha Alderson, aka the Plot Whisperer, is the author of 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 (Adams Media, a division of F + W Media). She has also written Blockbuster Plots: Pure & Simple (Illusion Press) and several ebooks and dvds on plot, including a dvd for writers of children’s and young adult novels. 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 an award-winning blog for writers, 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. Find her on Twitter, and if you like, add her workbook to your Goodreads list!

Would you like to take your writing to the next level with Martha's intuitive Plot Whisperer Workbook? This giveaway is open internationally, so just leave a comment with some contact info and share if you plot your scenes already, or if this is a technique you'd like to try. As always, tweets and shares are greatly appreciated. Good luck, everyone!

CONTEST NOW CLOSED! Thanks everyone! 

124 comments:

Boglárka said...

I haven't used this technique with my previous stories. I used to figure out the major plot points only and make up the rest as I go, but with my WIP I'm trying to plan more and plot out the individual scenes as well. I'm happy to say it's working so far. :)

Thank you for the post and the giveaway!

justwhelmed11(at)gmail(dot)com

Theresa said...

I would love to try this! Right now, I get a notepad and jot my ideas down with no sort of organization. I'm sure this book would help!

theresa(at)fadeintofantasy(dot)com

Becca Puglisi said...

I'm a rabid plotter, but until recently, I just kind of came up with the story without thinking in terms of turning points and balance. I can't wait to utilize Martha's resources on my next story project! Thanks so much for posting, Martha.

Unknown said...

This is exactly what I need! I'm almost finished with a first draft. I usually plot and write at the same time and I'm looking forward to utilizing this resource.
Wendy
dragonmoonscottage@gmail.com

Unknown said...

This is exactly what I need! I'm almost finished with a first draft. I usually plot and write at the same time and I'm looking forward to utilizing this resource.
Wendy
dragonmoonscottage@gmail.com

Unknown said...

This is exactly what I need! I'm almost finished with a first draft. I usually plot and write at the same time and I'm looking forward to utilizing this resource.
Wendy
dragonmoonscottage@gmail.com

Unknown said...

This is exactly what I need! I'm almost finished with a first draft. I usually plot and write at the same time and I'm looking forward to utilizing this resource.
Wendy
dragonmoonscottage@gmail.com

Shelly said...

I just bought The Plot Whisperer but I am a die hard panster. I figure after I've finished drafting my next novel, I'll be going through the book.

Deb Marshall said...

I plot my scenes...and sometimes as they come to me, then move them around as needed. Thanks so much for the opportunity to win the workbook...have the first book and love it!!

justdeb @ debamarshall dot com

Xanthorpe said...

This sounds like something I definitely need; I am one of the seat-of-the-pants variety and anything that can help me ensure my plots are more organized is obviously a great thing!

mdunne02(at)gmail(dot)com

Beth said...

My methodology seems to change a little with every book I write. I started out writing intuitively, then seeing what kind of story I was writing. I've progressively become more organized, having a pretty good idea in advance what scenes I'm writing. I like the idea of listing scenes that advance the story in more than one way, though. Food for thought!

Plot Whisperer said...

Good morning everyone!
Hi Angela and Becca. Thank you for helping me introduce the PWWorkbook to your followers and friends.
Fun to read everyone's comments and learn about everyone's process.
However you get the scene on a page, all I care about is that you write from beginning to end and don't give up!
martha
aka
plot whisperer

kiperoo said...

Thank you for holding this giveaway! I want to get this workbook anyway and give the scene-plotting a serious go. I'm a Save-the-Cat-er at the moment, which definitely helps, but I'm always looking for ways to improve.

Kip: kiperoo(at)gmail(dot)com

Vesper said...

I've tried to turn from a pantser into a plotter, while still allowing for flexibility in my stories. One of the weaknesses I found in three previous attempts at finishing a novel is the "discovery method" doesn't address the key turning points and wanders off on its own. I lose the emotional impact I was aiming for, and the story ends up really flabby instead of a fit Olympic sprinter. I've followed the Youtube videos and Martha's posts as I have the time, but it would be fantastic to have the wealth of her experience at my fingertips to learn and apply the efforts just in time for NaNoWriMo. I'd love to document my experiences with following her suggestions and guided plotting background!

Elizabeth Poole said...

What a great idea! I already plot loosely in scenes. Some sections I have a lot of scenes laid out, and others, like the end, I just have the major plot points. I never thought to analyze the scenes after I was done writing though. How cool!

I'll be sure to send my crit partners to this post the next time they're editing.

I would love to win a copy of The Plot Whisperer Workbook! writer.elizabethpoole@gmail.com is my contact info.

Tom Franklin said...

I plot away in my head all the time and rough sketch them out as well. More help is always appreciated!

I'm fivecat over at gmail.com


-- Tom

L.B. Schulman said...

Oh, I want this book! Getting near the end and cannot figure it out. Driving me batty! I love your youtube videos. I go back to them all the time. Great work, Martha.

writeschulman at gmail.com

blueskye1 said...

I am a die hard outliner for everything I write. On this, my first novel, I'm having troubles filling in some of the blanks--I think it's because I've actually been trying to write the story (starting and stopping) for many years and have put into place things that don't work. So I'm trying to let them go and figure what really works. Save the Cat and Story Engineering have helped a lot, but I need just a little more help--especially with the last 1/3 of the plotting--before I feel I can really write without wanting to throw it all away.

Margaret Park said...

Sounds like a good workbook to help me focus. I like using 3X5 cards with basic plot lines to move around until the order looks promising.

Lisa said...

I can't wait to get this workbook.

Lisa Wells

Plot Whisperer said...

Warning, gross generalization coming:
Writers who write by the seat of their pants seem more true to the creative process.
Plotters seem more true to readers.
What I mean, is that pantsers connect to the muse without judgment.
Plotters use the muse to create a pleasing story for the reader.
My dream is for pantsers to have such a deep understanding of plot and structure and the Universal Story that the muse tumbles into the template without much thought.

Ben Holewinski said...

Love to get everything I can on plotting. Interesting article. Will have to check the books out.

elmiriachi(at)hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

I have trouble writing a second outline, after I've written the first. I get into perfectionism really quickly.

tisamely (at) yahoo . com

Cray said...

This is a very interesting concept. I love to absorb all I can on plotting. I'm definitely going to be checking out your videos.

clint.ausmus@gmail.com

Rosi said...

I took a one-day workshop with Martha. The workbook would be a nice refresher! (rosihollinbeck at yahoo dot com)

Candace said...

I have many of my scenes plotted already but the more I write the more little ones are added on. I'm sitll working towards the end of wip! I would love this book!. candace(dot)m(dot)chatman(at)gmail(dot)com

Dawn Allen said...

I do but not to the degree this suggests, and I'll admit, I'm fascinated. I'd love to try it out.

dawnall2010@gmail.com

Sharon Lippincott said...

The Plot Whisperer is an amazing aid to planning, and I can't imagine writing a compelling story without planning/analysis, whether it's done early or late in the game. I can't wait to see this workbook!

Alizarin said...

Thanks for the giveaway!
This is exactly what I need right now to get to the end of my first novel.

c_alizarin(at)yahoo(dot)fr

Hope Anita Smith said...

I am a poet working on my first novel. I think I need to try The Plot Whisperer's techniques. I think they could help me make my good story Amazing.

Christina Mercer said...

I absolutely love Martha Alderson's Plot Whisperer and would be thrilled to get the workbook :-)

Peggy Eddleman said...

I've been thinking about getting this book! It's great to hear more about it.

Jemi Fraser said...

Each story I write, I take another (teeny tiny) step towards becoming a plotter ... or at least a semi-plotter. I started using Scrivener with this past story and its helping me see the structure better. This book soundslike it would be a great help too :)

Bish Denham said...

I always open to learning more and can use whatever help there is. So... through my name in the hat! Thanks for offering this give-away.

Angela Ackerman said...

Thanks so much, Martha for swinging by and offering such great advice. I am making the transition from pantsing to plotting, and this book will be incredibly helpful. In fact, I'm reading The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master as I type!

Good luck everyone in the draw! I am so excited for all of you knowing a few will be going home with this incredible writing tool. :)

Happy plotting, all!

Angela

Larsen said...

I started reading the comments just out of curiosity, but time didn't allow me to finish. Lots of people who are smart to WANT Martha's book!

She's a genius. Everyone's writing style is different, and everyone's journey to achieving that first novel is vastly different as well.

HOWEVER, Martha nails it on the head when she gives you what she does in The PW and her PW Workbook. I my opinion, every story needs the energetic markers and high and low points, and such as Martha teaches. Without them, a story feels incomplete to me.

I ♥ Martha, and I'd take {another} copy of the the PW Workbook anyday!

kyleandgina (at) gmail dot com!

Janet Hartman said...

I just discovered Martha's online videos a few weeks ago and I'm working my way through those. The workbook sounds like a great way to keep me grounded while developing a plot. (I often have trouble getting from idea to complete plot.)

Janet Hartman
www.JanetHartman.net
JanetHartman.blogspot.com

that ain't me said...

I'm looking for something and anything that can inspire me and help me organize my work. This looks like a great workbook for that.
Xthataintmex@Gmail.com

Bess Weatherby said...

I followed Martha's youtube series to plot my fourth novel. It helped SO much. Would love to have the actual workbook.

besscozby@gmail.com

Amy McBay said...

My crit group is big into Scene and Sequel. It's similar to what you have described and really helped me to organize my writing into stronger scenes. I look forward to reading and learning more from you!
amy.rogers09(at)gmail.com

kittyb78 said...

Sounds like a great book. Congrats on your release. :)
bidelia78@yahoo.com

Nicole K/GothamGal said...

I would LOVE to win this--I'm going through the editing process right now and I think this would be PERFECT!

The_Seventh_Sage said...

I plot my scenes in my head as I go along. Although, I think it's about time I actually start writing them out, seeing as how I'm a visual person and I tend to forget what scenes I want or have thought about :). Thank you for the suggestion!

highlyfaveured@gmail.com

AR Champion said...

I'd love to give pre-plotting a try. It's not a technique I've ever really used. But after reading this and exploring Ms. Alderson's site, I'd really like to try it! Love your blog and thank you so much for the giveaway!
Alyson C.
alysonrebeccachampion (at) gmail (dot) com

Anonymous said...

PW: $14.95
PWW: $16.95

What these books give to writers: PRICELESS.

wht_rose (at) hotmail dot com

Charline Profiri said...

I need this workbook to help with my 3 novels in various stages of revision!

Anonymous said...

This sounds great! Unique idea.Patty

Plot Whisperer said...

Wow! Leave for my walk and I miss all sorts of fun.
Love all your kind words.
The effort and the passion I hear in the comments are exactly why I keep putting pure & simple plotting help and support out there for writers -- hoping to ease your journey and have more fun writing!

Plot Whisperer said...

By the way, if any of you are interested I'm thrilled to announce my first ever webinar -- Secrets of Story Structure & Plot hosted by Writers Digest University 9/13/12
For more:
http://www.writersdigestshop.com/secret-of-story-plot-webinar/?lid=malderson

tinahoggatt said...

Martha is the best - and I have worked my way around to the point where I know I need to approach my work through her process. Subscribe to her blog, people - it's so worthy.

Debbie Maxwell Allen said...

I do plot my scenes, thanks to Martha's first book. It really helps! Looking forward to taking a look at the workbook.

~Debbie
dallenco[at]gmail[dot]com

Elizabeth Poole said...

Congrats on the webinar Martha! I'll have to check it out!

And I love what you said about pantsers vs. plotters. I waffle between the two myself, so it's good to know there's someone else out there with a similar thought appeasing your muse vs. readers.

www.francesothomas.com said...

I desperately need to learn this. I have half a dozen beginnings but no endings. Sigh.

Stephanie said...

I visualize scenes in my head as if I'm watching a movie and then create dialogue to go with each scene. The plot sort of works itself out as I go. I'd love to have something structured to use to fill the gaps and holes.

Im excited about this!! great give away!!!
Sdebear1 ( AT) aol (DOT) com

Molten Notebook said...

Thanks for the post and the giveaway! I do outline, but not down to the scene level. Sounds like it's worth trying.

Trudi White said...

Thanks for hosting.

I'm really looking forward to the workbook. Anything that helps me refine my plots has got to be a good thing.

Brenna Ash said...

Love the book! And I've been waiting for the workbook to come out. So glad it's here!

Patchi said...

I like your exercise. I've revised my current novel so many times to get it just right, including adding, deleting and moving scenes around. I'm sure it would have been a lot easier in list form, so I'll try that with the next book.

Lorelei said...

I consider myself a non-outliner/panster. However, structure is nec. to any book's plot. You can't do the writing w/o knowing where you're going, and where to drop in the useful points, arcs and so forth.

My muse does direct me, and I relish the fact that it will come when I need it. If I didn't have so much fun at doing this, I wouldn't do it at all.

Judy Migliori said...

I am a serious plotter and outliner. My problem is completing my current project when a better idea springs forth

Michele said...

I read your book and used it to help get control of my story and mark the major turning points, but I am still plotting too. I'm getting there though and almost done with the first draft. Only a few more chapters to go. I really appreciate you breaking it all down!

Janet Kerr said...

I have read your Plot book Martha & would enjoy another one of your workbooks.
It is great the way it breaks down plot in understandable threads.
Jan

janet_kerr(at)msn.com

Plot Whisperer said...

I've got an idea for the commenter (and I'm sure there are lots of others) who expresses dismay at all her beginnings and no endings.

Begin at the end. Weird, I know.

Ask yourself who your character will be at the end. What skills and knowledge she'll need to prevail at the climax at the end.

Take those ideas back to the beginning and integrate showing all the different ways those skills and abilities are missing or forgotten or was robbed of (depending on her backstory and if she has a backstory wound).

Trip her up more and more in the middle. Create a crisis where she dies to the limited person she has always been and then rebuild her in the final quarter of the story into the image she would have been if she had never suffered a backstory wound.

Just an idea...

LMEighmy said...

I started out a pantser, then I tried outlining, and I rarely go back to winging it. I'm always looking for more information on plotting, as I think coming up with ideas that work at the scene level are a challenge for me. I have the book, but I'd love to get the workbook!

lmeighmy at gmail dot com

R. E. Hunter said...

Looks very interesting. I'd love to win it.

Susanne Drazic said...

Great post. I've added the book and workbook to my TBR book list. Thank you!

smdrazic(at)yahoo(dot)com

Anonymous said...

I have your first book and would love to have a copy of the Workbook. Thanks for this giveaway!

Monique G.

Anonymous said...

What a super giveaway - thank you so much for the chance to win a great book!

Louise

Heather Marsten said...

Hi. Thanks for this post. Because of your book I've started thinking of my WIP as scenes and work on a scene at a time, but I have much to learn. Your workbook sounds like a fantastic tool. Have a blessed day.

HM [at] HVC [dot] RR [dot] COM

Anonymous said...

I definitely need help with my plotting to make it stronger. The workbook sounds like a terrific companion to take my plotting to the next level.

Janet B

jkbsfsd @ msn.com

Michael G-G said...

I love what I've read of the Plot Whisperer and her methods. I am a write and plot, write and plot kind of writer. Right now, in my WIP, I've taken a giant leap in time because I'm more interested in finding out what ended up happening. I'll go back and "fill in" later. (Oh messy 1st drafts, how I love thee.)

HM Prevost said...

This is definitely a new technique I would like to try. I have already followed some of your other advice, and it works!

HM Prevost
www.hmprevost.com

misshelenrps at yahoo dot com

Pam Stewart said...

I use the technique already. It works beautifully, gives you a general plan for where your story will go, and remains flexible if you need to change anything.

pamelastewart1969 at sbcglobal dot net

Deborah Jackson said...

Whether or not I win, I'll be getting a copy of this workbook. Can't wait to try it!

Thanks for the giveaways and the great advice.

Plot Whisperer said...

I'm so glad we're giving away more than one PWWorkbook here! So many writers are throwing their names into the hat, so to speak.

I love learning about everyone's plotting process, or lack of one, and how open everyone is to declaring their strengths and admitting their weaknesses.

Jenn Soehnlin said...

I was a pantser with my last manuscript and ended up doing two years worth of revising due to that. I hope to plot this time around and see if that means less revisions with everything planned out. So any advice, especially a book from THE Plot Whisperer, would be greatly appreciated. ;)

jenn.soehnlin(at)gmail.com

Kathy said...

I would enjoy learning more about the "plotmaster" methods to incorporate in my novel. I've written mostly poems before this new endeavor and need all the help I can get. I have a plot and a theme but need to work out the subplots and character development as well. This book sounds like it's the book to reveal the mystery of writing a good book with a great plot.

anitanolan said...

Love the Blockbuster Plots book, looking forward to using this one!

The Golden Eagle said...

I've come across a few other posts about plotting in scenes; I've never really tried it myself.

I like the point about engaging multiple plot elements in a single scene!

Sara Hill said...

I'm having a hard time with plot and could really use the workbook. Thanks for the chance!
skdhillatgmaildotcom

GaRY said...

The Plot Whisperer books and blog have helped me plan my stories and track my changes. I usually write a short document outlining my story idea and then use Martha's Plot Planner to flesh out the story. Then I write to my heart's content. Great tool.

Rachelle Ayala said...

I did PlotWriMo last December after NaNoWriMo, bought Martha's book, the Plot Whisperer and watched all the videos.

I'm pretty much still a pantster but I do work out the major plot points in my mind. I write the < 20 word tagline first. Then the blurb.

I know what my hook is, my call to action, my turning point, two pinchpoints, dark moment and climax are. But everything in between just flows. I write the first draft linearly from start to end, then set it aside to do Martha's month of mulling over themes and stuff.

Then I revise and post on critiquecircle. After that, more revision and then beta readers.

PlotWhisperer is a big help, not because I outline or engineer a story, but because it gets me to be aware of the hidden messages inside my story and deepens my relationship with my characters.

Perhaps not what Martha intended but it works for me. I then throw away all my cards and diagrams after PlotWriMo before I revise so that everything is organic and not engineered.

My upcoming novel, Broken Build, is the result of NaNoWriMo and PlotWriMo.

Anyway, I'd love to win the workbook. ayala (dot) rachelle (at) gmail (dot) com or Tiaclare at CC

Rosie Pova said...

I do make a list of the major scenes since I need to know the sequence of events in correspondence to the characters’ arcs. But the rest of the scenes I have to create as I go and I don’t know what they are until I get to them. That’s where I mostly get stuck, when trying to connect the events in the story so it doesn’t seem as if I’m making these big clumsy jumps.
And as always, Martha’s advice is very helpful—I got hooked with the very first vlog I watched. I am very curious about the workshop and hope to win. Thank you, Rosie: rosie(dot)pova(at)yahoo(dot)com

the wild magnolia said...

helpful information.

thank you.

Plot Whisperer said...

I feel like I'm listening in on a conversation between a lot of friendly and kind and thoughtful and passionate writers.

I love hearing how you each have found ways to move forward, even if drudgingly, with your writing and I'm thrilled to think I may have helped some of you over some of the bumpier parts.

We're doing this again tomorrow here. I'm thinking we're going to have to offer more than just 3 PWWorkbooks for Angela and Becca's blog friends and followers.

Stay tuned...

Brad said...

I have terrible time with plots. I have people and scenes, and no plot points. Help!

Briefer at cox.net

A C Silva said...

I loved the Plot Whisperer, and the workbook seems quite as well-made and as accessible as it.

Plotting is my major headache, maybe because I'm a naturally disorganized person, and it takes quite a bit of effort to nail one into submission.

Also, PlotWriMo?

David Purse said...

I mix it up with a combination of these. I plot my chapters scene by scene, but a lot of the time it strays from the plan, and stuff I didn't even think of before pops in there. And a lot of the time, that's where the fun is!

White Lily said...

I am a plotter. I like plotting. I have tried several versions, but never found one that fits me perfectly - and one that makes the process easy to handle. To me it often get far too complicated...
I believe this might be just what I need.
:)

Linda A. said...

I plot, but not as successfully as I'd like. I don't really know how to apply all that's needed within. Exercises to strengthen my skills would be terrific. Thanks for offering such a great giveaway.

landersen74@yahoo.com

Kath said...

I'm not a plotter, but something is missing. This could be it. I'm very interested in this concept of going back after the generative draft and examining the scenes this way.
Kath

Tricia said...

Martha - where are your DVDs about YA/MG available from?

ados said...

Why do I carefully plot short stories and yet think I can fly by the seat of my pants for a novel. Definitely in need of training... and al little gentle whispering.
Alyson

adite said...

Hi! I totally believe in plotting my stories and have been following Martha's blogs, tweets, videos for quite some time now. I also have Martha's Plot Whisperer book which helps me through the times when I'm stuck! It really is like a Plotter Friend I turn to when I'm in story trouble. LOL. I'm sure the Workbook would be just as awesome. :) Cheers!
Adite

Anonymous said...

I tend to outline at the end, but I do struggle with plot. Gingersjohnson at gmail dot com

Morgen said...
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Morgen said...

I've read the Plot Whisperer book, and I have another of Martha Alderson's books. I'd love the workbook to illustrate her techniques. I'm still a little confused on some things. I haven't tried to plot scenes, and I expecte it would help me write more if I did.

morgen.marshall@gmail.com

Amanda Stephan said...

I've used outlines that are similar to this idea, but I'd love to hone the steps and become better at it. Thank you for the opportunity to win this - I've add all three books (the workbook, the paperback, and the emotion thesaurus) to my wish list. Yep. The one hubster will be seeing for Christmas! Sneaky, aren't I? ;)
Amanda38401 at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

Cool article! I'm much more of a pantser, but I'm realizing the benefits of charting the story's course a bit ahead of time. This sounds like a neat tool for me to try!

Toss my name in the hat, please. And thanks for the giveaway!
-Emily
emily_reynolds(at)hotmail(dot)com

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I plot scenes, and I have The Plot Whisperer book. Wow, there's a workbook to that! Dangerous news for a craft book junkie. :D

Please add my name: stinalindenblatt (at) shaw (dot) ca

Christopher S. Ledbetter said...

I used be a hardcore plotter, but have since moved into a hybrid plantser approach. I do however still *see* my novels in scenes like a movie almost. I'd love to read the Plot Whisperer to see how I can incorporate such #awesomeness.

Chris Ledbetter
Cs_ledbetter@yahoo.com

Christopher S. Ledbetter said...

I used be a hardcore plotter, but have since moved into a hybrid plantser approach. I do however still *see* my novels in scenes like a movie almost. I'd love to read the Plot Whisperer to see how I can incorporate such #awesomeness.

Chris Ledbetter
Cs_ledbetter@yahoo.com

Christopher S. Ledbetter said...

I used be a hardcore plotter, but have since moved into a hybrid plantser approach. I do however still *see* my novels in scenes like a movie almost. I'd love to read the Plot Whisperer to see how I can incorporate such #awesomeness.

Chris Ledbetter
Cs_ledbetter@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

Some really interesting points raised here. I do tend to plan my scenes in advance because I want to make sure that all the complexities of the plot fit together - however it's usually a very basic outline and I certainly don't plan individual scenes to this depth.

In a minute I'm going to get out my manuscript and analyse a few of the scenes. I'm bound to find blocks of text that don't show as much as they could and I think this kind of analysis will be a great way for me to edit my work. Thanks Martha!

Mike K.
mikes_a_legend@yahoo.co.uk

Denise Grier said...

What a wonderful post! Thank you so much for this great wealth of information.

Ruby Johnson said...

I am a fan of Martha's books. Wonderful information. Thanks so much for your post.Looking forward to winning, but if I don't I will get your book anyway.

Plot Whisperer said...

How fun to catch up here!

I often find that the difference between a beginning writer and one that's a bit further along is that a beginning writer is mostly oblivious to many of the concepts we're talking about here. Beginners write for the pure joy of writing.

The longer you write, the more conscious you become of your reader and the more you appreciate how little you know and thus, find yourself on a constant quest for help with the craft.

For an update about the Mega-giveaway blog tour for PWWorkbook, stop by my home blog -- http://plotwhisperer.blogspot.com/

Wanda said...

Love Martha Alderson's advice! The workbook would be a great help to me in my writing!

Ann Herrick said...

Wow! Great plotting tips! Thanks!

Margay said...

I kind of swing between intense, in-depth plotting to barely sketching an outline. I wish I could strike a balance between the two and come up with a better system.

Margay1122ATaolDOTcom

Ben Holewinski said...

Are there digital copies of The Plot Whisperer Workbook available anywhere like on your blog? I don't see a kindle edition on Amazon. I looked at Barnes and Nobles and 1 store had 1 copy but someone must have ordered it online for pickup because it is currently on hold :\

I would love to get a hold of the book ASAP. I'm in Wisconsin in the Milwaukee area so if you know any bookstores that may have it I would greatly appreciate finding out where I can get a copy asap.

Only other option is Saturday delivery through Amazon but I'd love to get my hands on a copy today :(

Gillian Noero said...

Martha Alderson is a living, breathing example of what she teaches - not simply the structure of plotting, which she does brilliantly - but the resilience of getting it done, working out the energetic markets and plot points, RE-working(!)them again... I first saw Martha on her earlier youtube videos and the positive, even-tempered way she dealt with all the constraints of making a video out-of-doors (noise / wind /people)taught me so much about digging deep to find the patience and resilience I need to do the plotting process, then to review the plotting process, then to re-do the plotting process, then to see how the character's faults change the plotting process and to do it all again. So thanks to Martha Alderson for teaching plotting so well and also for teaching Writer Backbone and Stamina along with it! Best, Gillian
gnoero(at)gmail(dot)com

Plot Whisperer said...

Ah, you got me, Gillian. Tears in my eyes. A full heart. Thank you for your kind words.

Sounds like you've found a rhythm that works for you and by that I mean you've found a rhythm that keeps you writing and that builds an inner strength and passion and make the experience fulfilling.

Jennifer Jensen said...

I have a general plot when I start a project, then flesh it out after I get going. But I've done something like this before - took my WIP and put each scene on an index card and plastered the living room wall! It let me see what was missing, as well as where I had lost a balance between plot lines and character involvement. And it got my husband into it, even giving me some input!

That said, I don't do it as much as I should. I'd love a copy of the Plot Whisperer workbook to help me stay on track. My email is:

jennifergarvinjensen (at) gmail (dot) com.
Thanks so much!

mirapeix said...

i've got a plot arc but need some minor ones to make my draft a bit toothier...my contact info for the drawing is mmeri.sol@sol@gmail.com! pick me - i'm broke, getting a divorce and have two drafts for books that could get me outta poverty--yay!

Urban Milkmaid said...

Love this idea. I have the Plot Whisperer and recommend it to all my writer friends. Thinking about the different factors - antagonist/protagonist/emotional journey in each scene gives a richness to the entire story. Thank you!
Lisa.Pedersen2011@gmail.com

Deb Atwood said...

Hi Martha,

The best of luck to you in this new endeavor! I'm looking forward to digging into your new work. I gave you a little plug in an interview I did last week with Roxanne Crouse: http://somuchtowritesolittletime.com/2012/08/20/interview-with-moonlight-dancer-author-deb-atwood/.

Best Wishes,
Deb.

Heather Marsten said...

I am focusing more on scenes but can use some help in the plotting of scenes. This workbook sounds helpful. Have a blessed day.

HM at HVC dot RR dot COM

Gayle C. Krause said...

I don't normally plot my scenes. They seem to come naturally, but I'm thinking leaning how to plot by sense might make my writing an easier task.

Would love to win this giveaway. I'm not too old to learn a new trick!

Woof! Woof! :)

Ben Holewinski said...

Can't wait. Ordered Saturday Delivery thru Amazon then went to Office Max and got me a 4'x6' poster board to hang on the wall that I will be able to reuse :D

Got a rough outline of my story but plan to go step-by-step with the workbook and guide on Sunday (Fantasy Football draft tomorrow afternoon!)

Plot Whisperer said...

Thank you, Deb Atwood, for your kind acknowledgement in the blog post interview!

I'm blurry from writing all day.

Reading everyone's comments brings things back into perspective and has a very calming influence on me.

Thank you!

Erica said...

I now plot scenes whereas before I would "pants" it. It feels good to have a roadmap and it still allows room for freedom but I would like to learn more tips to help with each scene.

Traci Kenworth said...

Sounds like a promising book!! I do my books scene-by-scene and try to link them like a puzzle. This method works quite well for me. I'd be interested to see what this book could add to my arsenal of writing weapons.

Bratty said...

As a pantster I am always looking for a good explanation of how to plot. I see people tout story boards but they just leave me cold. I see people use character worksheets but they make my muse freeze. I'm looking for a good understanding of how a plot works, a real reason to use it, so that my brain will not feel like it's just trying to conform without knowing why.

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