Free Resources to Plot Your Novel

If you're plotting for NaNoWriMo, you'll be excited about today's free resource. I still adore Rubik's Cube Plotting, and Holly Lisle's Free Plot Outline Mini-Course, but Martha Alderson, who goes by the name of The Plot Whisperer, is offering her valuable whispers. For free.

Alderson, who consults with novelists, memoir writers, and screenplay writers, is posting her advice, bit by bit on YouTube. She has her own YouTube channel, which to date contains twenty-seven short videos giving writers the keys to perfect plotting. Over the weekend, as I nursed a cold, I watched all the videos, taking copious notes as I did. And while I've learned a lot about plotting in the past several years, the Plot Whisperer taught me even more.

One of the things I liked about Alderson's tips are how she shares when to employ your plot points, not just the fact that you need them. You've probably heard about planning your first turning point. But do you know exactly where to place it within the pages of your manuscript? Likewise the crisis and the climax (which, in case you didn't know, are two separate events that Alderson explains clearly).

Alderson highlights her points by sharing how the techniques have been used in books of all kinds--from classic literature, to modern novels, to picture books. Picture books have a turning point? The answer is yes. In the last few days I've tested her advice, flipping through novels to see at what pages they place specific plot points. And you know what? Alderson knows what she's talking about.

Alderson has written a book with Writers Digest, titled The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master. But she also shares even more information on her website, Blockbuster Plots for Writers, and she blogs frequently with more plotting tips. You may also want to sign up for her free newsletter or follow her additional tips on Twitter. It's no wonder her site has earned a spot in Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers two years running.

After watching Alderson's plot videos, I've been able to tighten my plot in some areas it was lacking, and I feel more confident about the chapters I've written. Try listening to Alderson's whispers--they could make a big difference for you.

What helps you most in your plotting?


  1. Oooh, very cool resource! Thanks for sharing, Debbie!

    As for NaNoWriMo, I'm pumped and cannot wait!!!

  2. I have her first book, and it's excellent. I'm excited for NaNo, too! What is your NaNo name?


  3. Hi Debbie, Just wanted to send some belated thanks to you for this post. My revisions have been difficult as of late and I had to concede my need for some structure - I am such the right brainer. Marha's Plot Series on You Tube was like finding GOLD. Her breakdown of the universal story greatly resonated with me and I think her steps will make all the difference in helping me move through my work. THANK YOU!!!

  4. I'm so glad the videos were helpful to you. I learned so much from them!




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