One Writer’s Journey

November 22, 2016

Plot Planners: Making Writing Advice Your Own

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:44 am

As I write this, I’m still in Chapter 4 of Martha Alderson’s The Plot Whisperer.  One of the things that I was supposed to do way back in the beginning of Chapter 3 was make a plot planner.

A plot planner looks a lot like the graphic for acts and rising tension in a story.  Something like this (see below).


It isn’t really exciting at this point in it’s existence but once again I had to fiddle with what Alderson asked me to do.  If you know me, you probably realize that this is a major part of my personality.  “Do it like that? Why?  Because this would be better.”

Alderson’s instruction would ideally be great for a visual person like me.  Take a 6 foot long piece of paper and draw the line from bottom left to up near top right.  Include two peaks and one valley. Eventually you are going to be adding colored post-its with scene titles/brief descriptions.  Yes!  I could so get into this.

Easy peasy.  I even have a roll of paper I could use.  The problem comes with what to do with said planner.  I do actually have a six-foot stretch of wall in my house.  Actually I have closer to 15 feet of empty wall.  The problem is that it is in the hallway.

Leave a six-foot long piece of paper in the hallway for . . . weeks.  The thing is that I don’t even think the boys would argue with me.  It would just be another strange mom thing.  But broad shoulders would brush against it and away would fly my post it notes.  Then there are those times I get up in the middle of the night and don’t turn on a light because I don’t want to wake anyone up.  On the way to the kitchen and back, I tend to bump into a wall or two.  How long before I ripped the planner?  And I’m sure the cats, God Bless their pointy little heads, would consider it a challenge to grab if anything had the nerve to flutter.

Honestly, I would love to do this the way she describes but it would drive me nuts trying to keep everything in tact.  So once again I am doing it on Adobe Illustrator.

Writing advice is all well and good but don’t expect it all to be a perfect fit as is.  Be ready to mold and shape it to fit your own circumstances.  When you do, you’ll discover a variety of tools that you can use to shape and mold your writing.


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