Our New York office entered suspended animation mid-March of 2020. My husband and I, partners in business and life, drained the coffee maker and emptied the fridge — except for the tublets of coffee creamer with an expire date of December. We washed the dishes left by a staff member, someone thinking they’d get to it first thing Monday. Then there was no Monday. We crossed our fingers the pandemic would be done by fall, keyboard clacking picking up right where it left off.
The midtown we visited weekly to water the plants and collect the mail abided in quiet…
Many writers peter out before finishing their novels. Don’t let your manuscript end up in a drawer. Mastering plot structure spurs you to finish by giving you definite milestones to aim at. Becoming adept in plotting has the added benefit of improving the quality of your work.
Here are my 7 favorite gems of essential plot structure:
The call to adventure, also called the “inciting incident,” changes ordinary life and kicks things off. It establishes what the main character is after: the big goal for the rest of the novel.
Think of Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games. When her…
Plotting groups may be the best-kept secret of successful novel writing. “Find a plotting group” was Tip #3 in my post on completing a manuscript faster. Now, “How do you start a plotting group?” is the number-one question in the comments. There’s very little info out there. Google “plotting group,” and you get bupkis.
Author and plotter extraordinaire Lynn Marie Hulsman was the brains behind our operation, The Plot Mavens. She interviewed other writers about their plotting groups to distill these four steps:
The requirements of plot structure vary from romance, to sci-fi, to fantasy, to literary fiction. Some genres…
My first novel was a decade-long slog. My second took six months.
This experience taught me five key lessons to complete my manuscripts much faster.
The pantsers out there, who write ‘by the seat of their pants,’ hate this idea. I hated this idea, too. We writers want to write — not stare into the middle distance thinking.
But if you’re trying to pull off full-length fiction, plotting is key. The more time you spend plotting, the faster the writing goes. That means timelines, character arcs, and turning points.
Don’t let yourself off the hook until all of the major…
Here’s one thing you see a lot less of since the pandemic:
It makes sense.
At first, there was the novelty of, “Here’s me in my mask!”
Here’s me at the beach with my mask. Here’s me in the fall leaves with my mask. Here’s me in my muffler in my mask. Me in the rain in my mask.
It got old quick.
Do you know someone who’s not paying their rent?
The real estate industry is about to become the mother of all pandemic casualties.
Here’s what’s happening in NYC.
1. People are not paying their rent
No surprise, as there’s been a big increases in eviction complaints nationwide.
As the $600 a week in extra unemployment benefits evaporates, folks face a choice between food and the landlord.
Everyone is noticing more homeless on the streets.
Dear Rest of the Country,
Seriously. We mean it.
Just fuhggedabout coming to New York.
Here’s what’s going on…
The 1984 graduates of a small girls’ Catholic school have been doing monthly Zoom calls.
Now in our 50s, our experiences are a microcosm of the pandemic.
— Pandemic — Love it
Here’s what’s going on…
— End of days?
Sometimes it feels as if the world may be coming to and end.
First the virus, then economic collapse, now looting.
— Peaceful protests
Here’s a view from my friend’s apartment in Sheridan Square. Vast numbers of peaceful protesters swell the streets.
We are grateful to them.