Santa Cruz Good Times

Thursday
Nov 27th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Thickening the Plot

ae maldersonLocal ‘Plot Whisperer’ shares the secrets of story structure

Do you have a story you’ve been struggling to write that seems to lie limp on the page? What you may need is structure—and the Plot Whisperer can help you.

Santa Cruz author Martha Alderson adopted the name “Plot Whisperer” after working with hundreds of writers in plot workshops, retreats and individual consultations. With clients that include bestselling authors, New York editors and Hollywood movie directors, Alderson has a gift in helping writers navigate the often arduous task of writing and realizing the novel, memoir or screenplay of their dreams.

“It’s my passion,” says Alderson. “What I really love is that there is this basic rhythm that seems to be there, whether the writer knows it’s there or not. I call it the Universal Story. It’s almost like it is this rhythm that is part of the storytelling paradigm. When that rhythm is not there, the story falls apart.”

In her 2011 book “The Plot Whisperer—Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master,” Alderson revealed the elements of the Universal Story, as well as how writers can structure their narratives to hit the basic rhythm markers that make a story thrum. Now, as a companion to the first book, Adams Media is about to release Alderson’s latest book, “The Plot Whisperer Workbook—Step-by-Step Exercises that Help You Create Compelling Stories.”

To celebrate the release, the public is invited to join Alderson in a launch party on Tuesday, Aug. 28 at Bookshop Santa Cruz. Not only will there be a cake decorated to match the cover of the book, but Alderson promises to unveil five basic plot secrets that will bring life to your writing project. Following a Q&A session, Alderson will sign copies of her books.

“I think this is a very visual approach,” says Alderson, describing the tools her workbook offers to aspiring authors. “When you’re at the writing level, it’s hard to see the overall structure. Writers who are very visual and even kinesthetic do well with this (approach) because they are able to plot out scenes, then stand back and see the whole.”

ae plotwhisperThe workbook consists of a series of worksheets with story maps and questionnaires that writers can fill out, and then use the information gleaned to continue with their stories.

“When writers start to freak out, rather than give up or go back to the beginning again, I hope that they’ll fill out the workbook and things will start popping—then they’ll go back to writing again,” Alderson explains. “They should know that every time they visit the workbook, something will happen and they’ll go back to the story again. The ideas and prompts will push you to the next energetic marker and, before you know it, you’ll be at the end.”

Though the two books can be read on their own, they’re meant to be used hand-in-hand, with the original “Plot Whisperer” book as a guide and the workbook as a place to try out the techniques with your own story.

“I wrote the workbook expecting that writers would have read ‘The Plot Whisperer’ first, because there’s not a lot of description in the workbook,” Alderson says. “You could read the workbook and fill out the templates and questions without reading the book, but ‘The Plot Whisperer’ book is a resource for a more in-depth process.”

Rather than an empty plot recipe, both “Plot Whisperer” books revolve around theme and meaning, helping the writer to develop a story that not only works structurally, but says something significant.

“What I find fascinating when I work with writers, is that often those meaningful moments are already there in their books, but they haven’t developed them in order to make the most impact,” says Alderson. “So when I can show (writers) the significance of a scene, how it functions thematically and energetically in the particulars of the story, then they get a different understanding of the story and they start to trust themselves a little more.”

As far as the importance of mastering plot, Alderson says, “Once you can map it out ahead of time—or even while you’re writing—it makes the writing process so much more enjoyable. Because you don’t have to stop constantly to think of where you’re going, you can get down to doing what you enjoy and think about the beauty of words, making your characters come alive and all the things that writers love to do.”

The launch party for “The Plot Whisperer Workbook” will take place at 7:30 p.m Tuesday, Aug. 28 at Bookshop Santa Cruz, 1520 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. Call 423-0900 or visit bookshopsantacruz.com.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Good Times Holiday Giving

Giving Where It Helps

 

Giving Thanks: The Thought-Form of Solution

We are in the time and under the influence of Sagittarius, sign of the wanderer, good food, good music, and the joy (Jupiter as ruler) that occurs from giving to others while simultaneously giving thanks from our hearts. Having the Thanksgiving holiday during the month of Sag is not a mistake. No other sign understands joy (an aspect of the Soul) as Sag (except Pisces when not in despair). “Sag is a beam of directed and focused light. The beam reveals a greater light ahead, illuminating the Way to the center of the Light,” emitting the Ray of Joyfulness. Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude; in the form of prayers, thoughts, feelings, wishes, hopes and greetings. Gratitude is something we still need to learn. Gratitude creates goodwill. Together, gratitude and goodwill create the “thought-form of solution” for humanity and our world’s problems. Gratitude and goodwill are the prerequisites for the reappearance of the Christ, the Aquarian World Teacher. In Ancient Wisdom texts it is written, “being grateful is the hallmark of one who is enlightened.” Gratitude comes from the Soul—the characteristics of which are love and wisdom (Ray 2). Gratitude is scientifically and occultly (mental, not emotional) a releasing agent. Gratitude liberates us and everything around us. Also a service to others, gratitude is deeply scientific in nature, releasing us from the past and laying open our future path leading to the new culture and civilization, the new laws and principles, the rising light of Aquarian, the Age of Friendship and Equality. The Hierarchy lays much emphasis upon gratitude. Let us be grateful this year and this season together. And so now the days of light illuminating the darkness begin (December’s festivals and feast days). Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I am grateful for all of you, my readers.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of November 28

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >

GT This Week

Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Round About Now

The glory of persimmons, plus Ivéta scone mix and lunch at Assembly

 

What charities would you like to see people support this season?

Judy Allen, Scotts Valley, Consulting

 

Big Basin Vineyards

I was just in the process of purchasing a bottle of Big Basin’s 2012 Homestead in Vinocruz when Matt Ryan walked into the store. Ryan manages the tasting room, sales and the mailing list at Big Basin, and, considering the popularity of their wines, he’s a very busy man.

 

Ashby Confections

Local chocolate maker talks chocolate and self control