How to Reorganize and Re”vision” a Story with a Plot

Last year, I blogged the steps I took to refine my last novel -- Parallel Lives -- before publishing. For the past few months, I've blogged the steps I took to finish The Avenue. ***A darker grown-up version of the children’s story The Secret Garden collides with a dangerous drug house on an avenue with more boarded-up houses than lived-in as a mysterious stranger steers Jonna into a yearlong journey of self-discovery and forgiveness in The Avenue.*** Now, I share my process how to reorganize … [Read more...]

The Existential Crisis in Stories

The 3rd Energetic Marker -- The Crisis / Dark Night -- is more or less a fixed moment in the Universal Story. Whether this major turning point is an existential crisis depends on the emotional intensity you intend for the story you're writing. Using the existential crisis in stories provides depth and meaning. Existential  Existentialism posits that each individual is empowered to choose the parameters of his or her existence. Existential is an adjective and, for our purposes, describes … [Read more...]

Collateral Beauty — A Plot Review

A sign of a great movie, just like that of a great book, is enough character depth, plot twists, and thematic nuances to invite you back for more. Though movie reviewers trashed it, I watched Collateral Beauty more than once... several times if truth be told. I love the message: Just be sure you notice the collateral beauty. The words bring meaning in the story after a trauma. They also bring meaning to our lives every single day. The first couple of times I rewatched the movie was to share the … [Read more...]

Nearly at the Finish Line: Bringing the Plot to The End

In mid-March, I invited you to Finish Writing Your Novel with me. Having stalled out in the middle of writing a novel back in 2013, I resurrected the manuscript. My goal: to finish what I started four years ago, both writing the novel to the end and following the prompts all the way to the end from The Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts (published 1/13 by Adams Media (now an imprint of Simon & Schuster)). Your tweets and messages of progress are a testament that you, too, have brought a … [Read more...]

Blockbuster Plots by Threes Book Giveaway

In honor of the 1st Anniversary of Writing Blockbuster Plots: A Step by Step Guide to Mastering Plot, Structure, and Scene, I republish Blockbuster Plots by Threes -- my very first plot article. The original version of Writing Blockbuster Plots came from this piece. Celebrate this auspicious occasion with me! Free Book Giveaway See details below Blockbuster Plots by Threes Make explicit what you already know intuitively about the structure of movies and stories and you’ll have yourself a … [Read more...]