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Martha Stockton Alderson's Blog

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Feb.09.2013
Flashbacks in novels cause time and space confusion with readers and rip apart the finely woven dream created in the here and now of the real story time. Flashbacks outside of writing are another thing entirely.  I joined Red Room in 2008 and never bothered to refresh my bio information I...
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Jun.21.2011
The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master
I teach plot to writers. Back in the 90s, I had the idea to write Blockbuster Plots Pure & Simple, my first book and rather than go the traditional route of querying an agent in hopes of securing a national publisher, I formed my own publishing company: Illusion Press. The writers I worked with...
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Oct.21.2010
The Plot Whisperer
I won! Just now. Seriously. Minutes ago. I saw the final terms of the contract. Today I win a national publisher.  Follow your bliss. Not until I started teaching plot to writers did I completely understand the deeper meaning of those words. Not lead or trot alongside but follow. Passion is all...
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Sep.15.2010
  In the universal story, every quest involves a separation; the initiate leaves what is comfortable and familiar and ordinary and enters the unknown. Thresholds symbolize the space between leaving and before beginning something new. All beings on earth cross this line at pre-determined stages...
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Dec.10.2009
The Plot Whisperer
For those of you more literary minded, what we are doing during 2nd Annual International Plot Writing Month is not an attempt to establish literary rules and regulations. Far from it. Nor, do we want to rob writers of the riches of their minds and souls. Quite the opposite.  In completing the first...
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Nov.12.2009
Energy of a Story
I wrote today's Twitter (1/2 pt. = commits to journey. Things seem to get a bit better. They're about to get way worse = Crisis 3/4 pt.) based on something I heard Andre Agassi say in an interview about his memoir. I missed the part about why he despises tennis from the start but at around the...
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Sep.24.2009
The Thematic Significance of your story is the thread that holds your story together. The more clearly you can define your thematic significance statement, the tighter your story. Once you have identified your Thematic Significance statement, your scene choices and word choices throughout your...
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Aug.06.2009
The middle of the Middle is the territory of the antagonists both for the writer and for the protagonist, too. Antagonists, internal and exterior, sabotage the protagonist from reaching her goals. The very same antagonists plague the writer as well.  In the Middle, the writer begins to doubt...
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Jun.11.2009
Though not often spoken out loud, I hear the fear whispered in many of the plot consultations I provide to writers. I know answering a question with a question is not always helpful, but the query begs a list of qualifiers:Are you good enough for what?Good enough to make time for your writing?Good...
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Apr.14.2009
I recently perused the stacks for reading material with several writer friends. One of them picked up a book and exclaimed, "Does it have a plot? I'm not reading one more book without a plot!"When I first started teaching plot to writers more than six years ago and then writing about plot...
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Mar.17.2009
Writing a story often comes in drafts. Each draft / layer is determined by your own personal writing preference.  Some writers write their entire first draft in dramatic action. Character emotional development comes later. Meaning comes later still. Others begin with character. Still others start...
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Dec.07.2008
Plot Whisperer
International Plot Writing Month -- Day Seven Today, your assignment, if you choose to say yes, is to carry your Plot Planner index cards and a pencil or pen with you everywhere.  I see you standing in line at the post office and the grocery store serenely grateful for the wait because it allows...
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Nov.30.2008
What: Craft a draft of your work into a novel, memoir, screenplay in a month’s time. Who: Anyone who has written a draft of a novel, memoir, or screenplay and is now ready to craft the project into a coherent piece worthy of publication. Why: The first draft of any writing project is considered the...
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Nov.11.2008
Plot Whisperer
In a recent issue of The Bookwoman, the official publication ofWomen's National Book Association, Fern Reiss gives hints on how to publicize your novel. One of her methods is to put a nonfiction hook in your novel. Hooks provide a potential platform as well as leverage for publicity. Riess' words...
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