Martha Alderson: The Plot Whisperer Blog Tour, Day 3

I count myself lucky in many ways. A big one of those ways is all the amazing people that my writing has brought into my life. And one of those people is Martha Alderson.

You probably know her better as The Plot Whisperer.

Martha and I met over ten years ago, in the first critique group I joined when I moved up to the Bay Area. If you’d asked either of us back then if we thought we’d write books about writing, I think we would have laughed pretty hard. I don’t know, though–one of the things I love the most about Martha is that she always dreams…and dreams big. So the fact that she has just published her second book on writing–or to be more specific–on plot, should be no surprise. And if you’ve followed her tweets at @plotwhisperer, you’re not surprised either. In fact, you probably can’t wait to read the book!

Well, you’ve come to the right place. (Okay, you’ve come to one of the right places. Tomorrow, the blog tour stops at Not an Editor, where Mary Baader Kaley is also having a giveaway. And check out Martha’s blog for a complete list of her blog tour stops and other chances to win a copy.) I’ve got TWO copies of The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master to give away. I usually run my contests for a while, but I’m keeping this one short so you’ll have time to enter all the other contests, too.  I’ll draw the winners Thursday night and announce them Friday morning. Make sure to stop back!

Let me tell you a little bit about Martha. Yes, she dreams, but she does more than that. She continuously shares that dream with others. Martha understand plot, but–as she’ll tell you–it’s an understanding she worked to reach, so she absolutely gets how those of who are not so good at plotting feel.  Because of this, her advice is always sympathetic and supportive, but it’s also strong. One of the best things about having had Martha as a critique partner is that she never gets lost in the words, in the stuff that fills in and layers around the plot points. Every time Martha has read a piece I’ve written, or done a plot planner for one of my stories, she has zeroed right in on the big pieces of the plot. Sometimes, it’s the lack of those pieces, but one of the best things Martha ever said to me was, “This has too many plots. It’s too crowded.”

Guess what? She was right.

Martha believes in plot. She recognizes that there are many writers who worry that, by plotting, they’ll make their story stiff or formulaic. She recognizes and respects that fear, but she also reassures us–rightly, I think–that the plot is the container, the structure, that holds all the magic we could ever want to write. And she coaches us through all the steps of creating that plot.

I bought Martha’s first book, Blockbuster Plots: Pure and Simple, when it came out. And last night, I drove over the hill to attend Martha’s launch party at Capitola Book Cafe and buy her new book. I talked earlier about this week how I’m struggling with plot on this WIP. I’m thinking it’s pretty nice of Martha to publish The Plot Whisperer just when I need it.

That’s just how she is!

I’m not doing NaNoWriMo, but I know a lot of you are. You’ve still got time to do a little pre-plotting and, even as you write as speedily as possible, you can be thinking about story. If you haven’t checked out Martha’s YouTube series on plot, do so now. And leave a comment for this post to enter my giveaway copy of The Plot Whisperer. (If your comment ID doesn’t include an email, please leave that in the comment as well, so I can let you know if you’re the winner!)

Good luck!


67 thoughts on “Martha Alderson: The Plot Whisperer Blog Tour, Day 3

  1. Oh man, this sounds amazing. I don’t know Martha, but you had me at “plot planner.” It’s such an intriguing (and, admittedly, foreign) concept that I need to know more. Thanks, Becky, for highlight the Plot Whisperer here!


  2. What a great opportunity! Thank you so much for making it happen. I’ve written a novel that has a lot of great qualities, but “plot” is not one of them. I am looking forward to connecting the dots (the dots/details are there) and making the plot more obvious and understandable to potential readers. Thanks so much!!


    • beckylevine says:

      Martha was just talking last night about how this stage–after getting that draft out–is a great time to really start attacking plot. Good for you!


  3. Thanks, Becky, for offering a giveaway. I can always use help with plotting. I’m not doing NaNoWriMo this year, but I have a novel, sitting so patiently, that’s in need of more attention. Also, love that Martha has a YouTube series.


  4. Ann says:

    Hi Becky,
    It is great timing for me, too. I bought Blockbuster Plots a couple months ago and am just now getting back to it. Last night I started watching the YouTube series. Very practical & informative. I’m looking forward to her new book as well.
    Thanks, Ann


  5. Good morning, Becky!
    I’m moving a bit slowly this AM. Still in the clouds from last night. Loved having you there. Thank you for coming.
    And thank you for this post!
    We’ve been at it for a long time now… great thing is… we’re still at it… writing, that is…
    The support of that first critique group (and the others since) set us soaring… and now look where we are!


  6. Fun to hear everyone’s comments.
    Writers are such a generous community, always ready to help out another writer with an encouraging word, positive feedback and share resources and tips that work for them.
    Thanks for visiting the blog tour and leaving your words, a bit of yourselves behind for others to read and connect to…


  7. Suzanne Morrone says:

    I love Martha! She has more positive energy than most people and I always feel excited and energized by her books, and her talks. And Becky though we haven’t officially met I also love your book and encouraged all my critique group members to buy it and read it. I also have enjoyed your blog a lot, this isn’t my first visit.


    • beckylevine says:

      Martha’s energy just filled the bookstore last night, Suzanne. And thanks so much–I’m really glad you like my book, too! 🙂


  8. Janet Kerr says:

    Hello Becky & Martha,

    Well Martha, I trust that you have officially launched the Plot Whisperer. And, this is the Climax of your wonderful work. Congratulations!
    And, thank you Becky for this opportunity to connect.


  9. terri Thayer says:

    Martha is a gem and I feel lucky enough to have worked with her on several of my books. I am a better writer for it, that’s for sure. How nice to have Martha’s book to get us through those long dark nights.

    No need to pick me. I’ve got my own copy, right?


  10. Hi Terri!
    I felt like you were there last night. Yes, Becky has your signed copy!
    I liked that part — the signing. It was fun getting to talk to everyone after the book launch but not so long that some people could tell me their whole life story but enough to feel that connection beyond the doubt and worry and questions and stress to that writerly place…


  11. Yay! Two more in the mix.

    Thanks for stopping by, Shari and Julie!

    Becky’s blog is a soft place to fall…

    And you’re right, Becky. You’ve made today an absolute breeze. Deepest gratitude!



  12. Janet Kerr says:

    Hello again Becky, I am not sure if my reply got posted because it says {Your comment is awaiting moderation.}

    It sounds like the Plot Whisperer’s book launch was great!

    Please enter me in your draw.

    Best Regards,
    Janet K.


  13. Hi Janet!

    So, Becky, sounds like you’re going to make a couple of writers happy. I hope they’re still as happy reading the book, too!

    Thank you, Becky, for all your support. Fun, relaxing day.

    Hope you all come along on the tour…. tomorrow is another day… another blog… yay!


  14. claudine says:

    Please put me in the running, Becky. Someone told me about the Plot Whisperer awhile back (maybe even you!) and I really enjoyed the blog. Then, I got off track somehow and missed checking it. So, I’m really glad for the reminder, even if I don’t win.
    And I will definitely have to add it to my library, one way or another.



    • beckylevine says:

      You need to find a less harsh descriptor than plot-impaired. Plot-challenged? Plot-piqued? Plot-Not-One-of-My-Favorite-Things (with music and dance)? You’re in!


  15. Well, if you drove all over to get her second book, I’m guessing it was extremely worth it! I could definitely use some help with the plots, so I’ll put my name in here & check out the rest of the tour.

    Thanks for sharing this, Becky!


  16. Thank You so much for offering this! Would so appreciate a copy of her book. I absolutely loved her you tube series, watched every minute of it and took lots and lots of notes. One of my crit. partners had the pleasure of meeting Martha at the SCBWI San Rafael workshop in 2010, and raved about her book (and how nice she was!) I am definitely using her plotting techniques for NaNoWriMo ;-))


  17. So glad I stopped by here today! Had not heard of Martha (aka the Plot Whisperer) but now I have all kinds of books and videos to check out–

    Because when it comes to me and plotting, I need all the help I can get!


  18. Oh, I know I’m too late for the contest (dang), but I am going to check out the youtube series and probably get the book. I’m doing some fiction for hire right now, and I’m also thinking more about plot structure in picture books. Hoping some of what she has to say is directly about that or can at least translate to that! Thanks, Becky!


  19. Christine says:

    Contest or not, I got a chance to read the first chapter of Martha’s book and take a look at one of the videos on Youtube tonight. Such great material. I’m looking forward to putting it into use right away. (prepping for NaNoWriMo, of course)


  20. Maricar says:

    I’ve been going through the videos, taking notes and working through my plot, even as I’m doing NaNo. Crazy, I know, but Martha’s tips are simply too valuable to miss.


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