plot structure

The Visual Writer’s Guide to Pacing & Tension

Pace Tension2I always thought being visual and a writer was a massive contradiction. I don’t mean having an imagination. Obviously a writer needs an imagination. I mean, in the way we process information.

See, when I think, or try to work out a problem, like how to prevent the terror tot shoving his finger up his nose in public, I think in pictures and voices. Yes, I hear a voice in my head, but not the kind of voice that whispers violent temptations, although sometimes it might be nice to blame my rage on it… Where was I? Some people think in words or numbers or actions. If you have synesthesia you might even think in colours, senses or feelings.

This has never been a problem for me. It just meant I created mood boards for my story worlds and characters on my pinterest or instagram, rather than filling out character templates and scene plans.

That was until I wanted to check the pacing and tension of my novel.

Once you’re knee-deep wading through the slush of your story, you know as well as I do, you can’t see the commas for the sentences. Let alone step back enough to see the shape of your newly trimmed bush manuscript.

So I set about some research and have figured out my own method, using a Sacha sandwich of pilfered ideas, to help visual writers figure out their uppers from their downers. (more…)

The Quickest Plot Structuring Tool There Is

Fastest Structure

I used to be an over plotter. A plotter who annoyed herself because she couldn’t do anything until she had planned ten ways to Sunday. Thank god I came to my senses and pulled the rod out of my arse! (more…)

Write Tips #0 Seven Point Plot System


I am a planner, down to my core, and no more so then when planning my novel. I have been toying with trying to understand how much planning is too much, and it’s always a difficulty, particularly for someone who really does love all things planned, structured and organised!

I had been having issues understanding exactly how to structure my novel, how to ensure that it was structured correctly, whether the structure I was creating was even a ‘story structure’ you know – one of the ones you find in an actual book – a published one!

Anyway in amidst my writing strife, I recently discovered the seven-point plot structure, and a lecture by Dan Wells, a pretty successful writer, who has written and published several successful novels.

He talks through the seven-point plot structure in detail with examples of famous stories to make it ’real’. The summary is:

Hook –   (HERE 2nd ) If you know your ending – your start is generally the opposite stance – if you end with someone in prison – then they need to start free.

Plot Turn 1    (HERE 4th) introduce conflict here, it’s the point that moves you from the hook to the midpoint

Pinch 1           (HERE 6th) Apply pressure, force the characters into action (often introduces the villain.

Midpoint        (HERE 3rd ) this is the exact point in the story where your characters move from reaction, to action. Note it doesn’t have to be physically in the middle of the book.

Pinch 2           (HERE LAST) apply even more pressure – make the situation seem hopeless.

Plot Turn 2    (HERE 5th ) This moves you from midpoint to ending, its where you obtain the final piece of the puzzle in order to get to the end.

 Resolution   (START HERE) Everything leads to this point – make sure you know  what your ending is.

To watch the whole lecture (which I strongly advocate) visit youtube here.

The reason I love this so much, is because it was simple, clear, and only 7 sentences, it gave me such a clear understanding of my story arc, that my head felt clear and able to pad out the subplots, character sheets and all the other faff that comes with planning a novel. Its clear and simple, and forces you to go back to basics – if you can’t write your story into this structure then there’s probably something fundamentally wrong with your novel.

Hope it helps – let me know what you think of it.