Plotting... groan, groan! Ah, the headaches it can bring!

Well, help is at hand. Amongst the dozens of articles here, on every aspect of plotting, you're sure to find something to start the wheels turning...

  • How to Use Sub Plots
    If your book is suffering from the dreaded 'sagging middle' syndrome, it's likely that you either don't have a subplot or you haven't paid enough attention to your subplots.
  • Many Paths to Plotting
    You can read six books on plotting and come up with six different methods... and that's only a fraction of what's possible. The bottom line is, and always will be, DO WHAT WORKS.
  • Writing a Prologue
    All too often we pick up a published book and read the prologue, then wonder why it was there at all. It doesn't seem to do anything that Chapter One couldn't have done - or that couldn't have been worked in during the story itself.
  • Plotting Problems - Episodic Writing
    What is episodic writing? How does it hurt your chances of publication? Find out how to avoid a lack of forward 'thrust' in your story and increase your chances of a YES from the editor.
  • 3 Quick Tips on Plotting Your Book
    Plotting can seem like an overwhelming task. Here are 3 quick tips that will help to get you started.
  • Scenes and Structure
    Why is it useful to regard a book as a series of scenes rather than a collection of chapters? How can you improve the pacing of your book by the way you handle scenes? These quick tips on scenes and structure could see a big improvement in the momentum of your story.
  • Plotting by Personality
    What's the best way to plot? The answer: whatever suits your personality. Work with your own natural instincts and the job will become easier.
  • Just Too Convenient
    Last year, I critiqued several scenes in one week for a writer. In two of them, she'd made life much too easy for her characters. It's time to share a few tips on how to make life a little more INconvenient for your story people! We'll look at four main areas of 'convenience'...
  • Tips on Plotting and Editing Part 1
    So - how are you going to attract a reader or commissioning editor to your book? With your story's exciting beginning, of course.
  • Tips on Plotting and Editing Part 2
    You see a lot of articles about writing, which will try to depress you with tales about 'writer's block', which is supposed to occur sometimes in the middle of a book. I believe it's usually more a case of needing a rest from the work in progress.
  • Tips on Plotting and Editing Part 3
    Part 3: Endings (from a how-to book by Sherry-Anne Jacobs, AKA Anna Jacobs) This is part 2 of a 3-part mini-series on beginnings, middles and ends by Sherry Anne. THINK ABOUT THIS! The beginning of a book sells that particular story.
  • Mind-Mapping Your Story
    If you're in contact with other writers, you already know that everyone has different methods of coming up with that essential outline. Some writers can work only in a very structured way, using headers, sub-headers, explanatory paragraphs and bullet points. Others can't conceptualise the plot or article unless they scribble ideas in clusters or bubbles, joining related ideas with connecting lines.
  • 5 Ideas for Plot Twists
    I admit that this might start to sound a bit like the developments in your favourite (or most-hated) soap opera - but remember: readers LOVE to be surprised! Your job is to tread the fine line between giving them a plot twist that they didn't see coming, and having them roll their eyes and groan because the twist is totally unbelievable. The best twists manage to come as a total surprise to your readers, while still being necessary to the plot. (Now THAT'S got to test your skills as an author!)
  • Satisfying Story Endings
    Story endings are hard to write -- often much harder than beginnings. Any author who wants to be published must understand how to write a book with a powerful ending. It's important to know two things: one, what will disappoint readers (and editors) and two, what works well.The following four 'duds' are amongst the biggest offenders in endings that will disappoint...
  • The Power of Brainstorming
    So, it's official. You're stuck. Maybe you can't come up with a decent story idea. Maybe you've no idea of where to take the plot. Or possibly you're just losing patience with an intractable character. Whatever it is, you feel as though you're spinning your wheels. What can you do? Welcome to the power of brainstorming.
  • Turning Points in a Novel
    Put simply: a turning point in a story is A POINT AT WHICH THINGS CHANGE. You should be able to find a turning point in most of your scenes: it's an indication that your story is moving forward. Any story is full of degrees of change, or small changes. However, you need to clearly understand your story's MAJOR turning points. These are the ones you want to play up.
  • Before You Start to Plot
    What you have to decide, before you start to plot, is whether you have the time, patience and contacts to chase up all the information you need to make your story sound authentic. If you don't - opt for a simpler plot, and delve more deeply into characters and character development.


The Busy Writer's One-Hour Plot

The Busy Writer's One-Hour Character

Book of Checklists

The Busy Writer's Self-Editing Toolbox

The Busy Writer's KickStart Program

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