24 January 2015

New Website! New Blog! 2 New Programs!

Striving always toward full integration of the logical - linear and analytical with the intuitive - creative and imaginative, I've united those parts in a lovely new website! Come visit me!

MarthaAlderson.com

And, a lovely new blog as part of the site.

MarthaAlderson.com/Plot-Whisperer-Blog/

For plot tips and tricks, resources and workshops, personal inspiration and transformation, subscribe to my new blog and check out my two new programs. Well, one new and one a re-filming.

See you there!

12 January 2015

Writers: Enliven Your Imagination and Embrace the Miraculous

Dictionary definition of Imagination:
  • The capacity to form a picture in your mind of something that you have not seen / experienced / isn't real
  • The skill of thinking new things
  • Creative ability
  • Something that exists or happens in your mind
Does imagination come from our minds? Is it a brain-based skill? Or, does it come from outside of us like the muse? To embrace the miraculous demands an openness to all possibilities and a whimsical imagination.

In today's world, we often use our imaginations to imagine the worst. We're dissuaded from being led by fancy and persuaded to follow reason. In fear of appearing childish, we overrule our imagination with logic.

Writers benefit from a vivid imagination. An inward journey takes you back, back before any wounding, all the way back to the imaginations of our innocence. Imagination opens us to embrace all choices, alternatives, solutions. Suddenly, we're surrounded by the miraculous.

If my 95-year old mother believed the vision of birds in a far-off nest impossible and improbable because of her macular degeneration, the vision disappears. That she has an openness to the impossible and amazing, astounding, remarkable, extraordinary, incredible, unbelievable, sensational, and even what could be viewed as highly improbable and extraordinary, she experiences a miracle. The blind seeing.

Swirling thoughts as I film the next exercise for:


Led by intuition, inspiration and enthusiasm, I wade deeper into the spiritual waters of creativity. Join me!

This is the year you start believing in miracles… again and, like my mom, daily live the wonder of birds fly to and fro a distant tree.

COMING SOON!
All Inclusive Special Offer
$9.99 
2015 Plot Whisperer Beta-Membership includes BOTH: 
 ~~~~~
For plot help and resources throughout the year:
1) The Plot Whisperer Workbook: Step-by-step Exercises to Help You Create Compelling Stories
2)  The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master
3)  The Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts: Easy Exercises to Get You Writing

Click for the New and Improved version PlotWriMo

09 January 2015

You've Thought About It and Thought About It: This is Your Year to Write that Story!

This is your year! If you've been thinking and thinking and thinking about writing a novel, memoir, screenplay… this is the year to stop thinking and time to start writing.

Lots of people believe you're either born to be a writer or you're not. I believe that we all have stories to tell and, by writing consistently and studying the craft of plot, we each have the ability to write those stories.

Some writers struggle finding and developing the plot and design of their stories. I also work with writers who struggle finding the confidence and belief in their imaginations to actually embark upon the epic journey writing takes us.

Next week I launch two programs, one revised and one new:
  • 27-Step Tutorial: How Do I Plot a Novel, Memoir, Screenplay?
  • The Spiritual Guide for Writers: How to Embrace the Infinite Wisdom of the Universal Story and Transform Your Own Unique Creative Expression the Plot Whisperer Way
Now, whether you're held back because you don't know how to proceed or you're held back by fear (or both), I've got the programs to help!

Check back next week when both programs become available.

COMING SOON!
All Inclusive Special Offer
$9.99 
2015 Plot Whisperer Beta-Membership includes BOTH: 
 ~~~~~
For plot help and resources throughout the year:
1) The Plot Whisperer Workbook: Step-by-step Exercises to Help You Create Compelling Stories
2)  The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master
3)  The Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts: Easy Exercises to Get You Writing

Click for the New and Improved version PlotWriMo

04 January 2015

Spiritual Guide for Writers: How to Embrace the Infinite Wisdom of the Universal Story and Empower Your Own Unique Creative Expression the Plot Whisperer Way

From years of working with writers and teaching about the Universal Story I've come to believe that we’re all on the same transformative journey, child, adult, all of us together. Without a map of the journey, we're often left reeling, feeling slapped by life and confused. I have that map and I'm eager to share it with you.

  • Step away from the drama swirling in life
  • Understand how your own personal story alignes with the Universal Story
  • Appreciate the forces both supporting and interfering with your success 
  • Recognize the deeper meaning behind your reaction to situations
  • Identify the significance of friends and foes in your life
  • Discover how you trip yourself up 
Awareness of the Universal Story brings a more intense consciousness of:
  • your purpose
  • the words you speak
  • the schedules you create
  • your habits and behavior
This universal rhythm is the undercurrent of every breath you take, every story you tell yourself, and all the stories you write. Learn to refer to it when you find yourself mired and lost or simply when you are curious about where you are and where you are headed or, at least, the general direction you are moving.

COMING SOON!
All Inclusive Special Offer
$9.99 
2015 Plot Whisperer Beta-Membership includes BOTH: 
  • The Spiritual Guide for Writers Video Program 
  • 27-Step Tutorial: How Do I Plot a Novel, Memoir, Screenplay Video Program
 ~~~~~
For plot help and resources throughout the year:
1) The Plot Whisperer Workbook: Step-by-step Exercises to Help You Create Compelling Stories
2)  The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master
3)  The Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts: Easy Exercises to Get You Writing

Click for the New and Improved version PlotWriMo

02 January 2015

27-Step Tutorial: How Do I Plot a Novel, Memoir, Screenplay

The original The 27-Step Tutorial: How Do I Plot a Novel, Memoir, Screenplay?, viewed over 160,000 times, sprang out my passion for teaching plot, my first book Blockbuster Plots Pure and Simple  and all the workshops and retreats and conferences I've taught.

I was offered a contract to write The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master mid-way through filming that series and the tutorial helped shaped that book. As one 5-Star reviewer commented on Amazon: An understanding of the plot development trajectory of classic and award-winning stories reveals an "undeniably consistent pattern - the bones that make up the skeleton of virtually every irresistible tale." 

The reviewer goes on to say: "As a former educator [Alderson] is adept at moving students beyond abstract concept to the tangible and concrete. For me it was like the plotting lightbulb flickered from 15 incandescent watts to 200 halogen. Amazing and totally exhilarating!

Because of the series popularity, I felt you deserved less external distractions and a cleaner presentation.

I'm re-filming the series now. If you'd like to follow along as I film all 27 steps to plotting a novel, memoir, screenplay, I'm offering a beta-membership in mid-January.

COMING SOON!
All Inclusive Special Offer
$9.99 
2015 Plot Whisperer Beta-Membership includes BOTH: 
  • 27-Step Tutorial: How Do I Plot a Novel, Memoir, Screenplay Video Program
 ~~~~~
For plot help and resources throughout the year:
1) The Plot Whisperer Workbook: Step-by-step Exercises to Help You Create Compelling Stories
2)  The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master
3)  The Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts: Easy Exercises to Get You Writing

Click for the New and Improved version PlotWriMo

01 January 2015

Writing a Story is Like a Vision Quest

When you give birth to the dream of writing a novel, finishing a screenplay or publishing a memoir, you travel the same journey your protagonist does.

The journey offers the gift of transformation, one that is often deep and profound.

However, along the way to crafting a story and living a writer’s life, it is easy to get detoured. You find yourself wandering aimlessly and meeting one dead-end moment after another.

Whether you're in the flow of writing a story or stalled and blocked, there comes a time in all of our lives when you feel pushed to separate from all you know and wander off alone in search of meaning. People of all ages undergo this powerful journey.

A map comes in handy.

I have that map and I'm eager to share it with you.

Though writing a novel, memoir, screenplay can takes years, on a traditional Native American vision quest, one spends several days and nights alone in nature. This solitary time in nature connects fundamental forces and spiritual energies of creation and self-identity to reveal profound insight about yourself, your story, your purpose and destiny in life and the world around you.

I invite you on a vision quest with the help of the Universal Story. Like most vision quests under the guidance of an elder, I serve in that capacity. I use many of the same ideas I developed to help writers create a compelling plot for their stories to help you reconnect to your intended spiritual and life purpose.
  • Are you standing at a turning point uncertain which way to go?
  • Is the view around you muddy? 
  • Days drag?
  • Going through the motions?
  • Wondering where you lost your passion?
The wilderness we travel together isn't in a forest or by a secluded lake. Our journey is an inward one taken wherever you feel a sense of safety. You won't be asked to be sleep deprived or shut in a small room to commune with the other side. Simple exercises are designed to take you there in the comfort of your own home. You don't have to fast and wait for a Guardian animal or force of nature to provide you with a vision or dream and give guidance for your life. Rather than stumble about alone, this program guides to fully understand the true power that resides in you and in your stories.

In the end, you'll returns to your old life transformed and with a new direction in life which will cause all those around you to shift and change as well.

COMING SOON!
Special $9.99 
2015 Plot Whisperer Beta-Membership includes BOTH: 
  • The Spiritual Guide for Writers Video Program
  • 27-Step Tutorial: How Do I Plot a Novel, Memoir, Screenplay Video Program
Details to follow...

17 December 2014

21-Days to Goal: How to Be Your Best at the Start of the New Year Starting Today!

The trick to starting off the new year on more solid-footing, begin now.

1) Think about how you'd like 2015 to be for yourself personally (I appreciate how difficult the task to separate yourself out from your family and friends and community at large. For this exercise, try). If the entire year feels too daunting, visualize simply the very best January you can imagine for yourself personally.

2) Write a long-term - 21day -- goal of the skill(s), belief(s), ability(s), habit(s) you wish to take into the new year that best serves your vision. Write the 21-day goal in the present-tense.

3) List specific steps you plan to take, starting today, to position yourself in the direct light of your vision for 2015.

4) Schedule and mark the next 21-days on your calendar the specific steps on your list:
  • daily writing
  • sitting at your computer for 5-minutes
  • unplugging 3 times a day from negative emotions to positive affirmations
  • 21 days with a Plot Planner and 10 minutes daily questioning your characters, twisting the action and mining the meaning
  • making a Plot Planner for your life with your goal at the highest point (see the Plot Tips banner) and working backwards for what to do daily to move one step nearer to your glory in 21-days.
5) Everyday, check off another success on your calendar. Turn to 2015. On January 4th, greet the new year changed and better aligned with your vision of the future.

15 December 2014

Examples of the 2 Most Common Templates for Developing Characters

In early November, I wrote about Characters in Action-Driven Novels and Those in Character-Driven Stories.

A few nights ago, engrossed in The Hundred-Foot Journey directed by Lasse Hallström from a screenplay written by Steven Knight and adapted from Richard C. Morais' 2010 novel The Hundred-Foot Journey, I was struck how perfectly Hassan exemplifies the character-driven profile while Papa Kadam assertively personifies the action-driven profile.

1) Reflective of a character-driven character profile
Hassan, before moving on when faced with failure / challenges / obstacles :
  • Slows down
  • Reflect how he's doing while being sensitive to others
  • Evaluates his behavior and reactions 
  • Examines at what went wrong from all angles
  • Learns from his mistakes

2) Reflective of an action-driven character profile
Papa Kadam, on the other hand, classically impulsive and, when faced with failure / challenges / obstacles (until the very end):
  • Doesn't stop to evaluate what went wrong
  • Thinks less
  • Acts / reacts faster 
  • Multi-tasks
  • Focuses on the achieving the goal not how his behavior affects others

14 December 2014

Plot Whisperer Martha Alderson's PlotWriMo: Revise Your Novel in a Month with Literary Agent Jill Corcoran

Seven years ago, I began offering the beta version of PlotWriMo for novelists who were word-drunk from NaNoWriMo. Over the years I refined and perfected the steps to help writers revise all those words generated in November into a compelling story with a plot (and all other novelists and memoirists and screenwriters struggling to create a pleasing stories for readers).

Earlier this year, I partnered with Jill Corcoran and incorporated her insight of concept and knowledge about the inside of publishing into an entire PlotWriMo video program. The feedback and "ah ha" moments we have received have been enormously rewarding and makes all the time and hard work worthwhile.

Sample of incredibly gratifying "ah ha" Moments from Writers Using PlotWriMo to Revise their Stories
"Now, what did I learn from the videos? Goodness, what did I not? It's all about the structure. Being a pantser doesn't work when you are revising (Not sure it would work for me - ever), but you have to be clear in your journey. I also learned to forgive myself. To keep writing. And that we can learn from our mistakes and become better writers."

"Jill (video 4, I think) explained what agents meant when they say "They didn't connect" and it was like a lightbulb had been screwed in my head-- I failed to meet all of the essential elements of a scene. There was always something about my former MS that I could never pinpoint that felt off, and that was just it! I needed more emotional development, conflict/ tension, dramatic action and clear goals PER scene."

"I watched the Revise Your Novel in a Month videos and really began to understand the difference between crisis and climax and the key ways to develop each part of the plot."

"PlotWriMo is the closest “formula” for structuring a book I’ve ever discovered. It’s like an algebra equation for writing – if you’re missing any of the energetic markers you can’s solve for X."

"It’s helped me re-envision my own work and I can’t stop myself from dissecting every movie and book I’ve read since."

"I've learned a lot through the PlotWriMo series. I've always struggled with revision, but the PlotWriMo series has helped me organize my revision so that I am going deeper than I ever have before at making my story shine."

"I watched PlotWriMo and learned about EMs, concept and that the antagonist OWNS the middle."

“Ah, ha” Moment: The exercise of writing down all of the themes, and getting down to the grittier ones. And when I found my darker theme was about loss, and the threat of losing someone you love. I couldn’t believe when I went back and looked at the Energy Markers and found that common theme. I’m working on deepening the scenes with metaphors and thematic significance."

"Don't start drafting until you're happy with the concept and markers."

"As for what I learned, viewing both the crisis and the climax from my antagonist’s point of view gave my story dramatic action and the depth it needed to bind the story and pull in the reader."

"Yet my greatest aha moment came with the challenge of writing the concept, giving my story definition. As a young woman I took my family on some exciting adventures, wounds and all, and the only dream still intact in the end was my passion and desire to be a writer. I couldn’t just throw out my concept because it wasn’t good enough, or my life wouldn’t be either. Crafting my concept, meant validating what I had done and why, all the parts and pieces."

"I really had an "aha moment" when Martha Alderson talked about the end mirroring the beginning."

The icing on the proverbial cake is all the great success we hear from writers like the one writer who secured an agent (having the amazing opportunity to chose from 3 offering her contracts).
As Wendy McLeon MacKnight writes: "No word of lie - it is absolutely thanks to Jill Corcoran and Martha Alderson! The last round of revisions changed everything! I just thank god I have the videos and future classes for other books! I have worked like a dog on this book, but the videos and Martha's book really changes everything. The advanced workshop kicked my butt in the best way possible and made me really rethink some things and made the work so much better! What I know for sure is that maybe, without Jill and Martha and the videos, I might have eventually written a book that hung together, I might have eventually found a literary agent, but they gave me a wormhole that, with some elbow grease, allowed me to zip forward light years. And who doesn’t want to zip forward light years? So you may wonder if the cost of the course is worth it, but I’m here to say: six months after finding Jill and Martha I began to have agents requesting full manuscripts and now have a literary agent. And that is all thanks to Jill Corcoran and Martha Alderson and these wonderful tools they are offering us!"

13 December 2014

The Universal Story: As Your Story Evolves, You Evolve Too

Universal is characteristic of the whole, covering the entire collective, everyone and everything.
Story is an account of events in the evolution of something. 

The Universal Story embodies both these parts. An account of events in the evolution of something characteristic of the whole.

With no true beginning and no end -- though we often believe we can pinpoint the moment a new life is born, the true end of life -- when you begin writing a story, you jump right into the middle of the universal flow of things and fly in the current. Coming into existence, bound up and separated from all you know a struggle ensues. Finally free, transformation happens.

The Universal Story flows endlessly. Within the collective, each moment, each scene, every life begins, struggles and grows, transforms, dies off and begins again. Beginnings, middles and ends to beginnings, middles.., each part of the whole. The Universal Story sends all our stories, all our lives spiraling upward, evolving, transforming, dying off and becoming again.

I teach writers about the Universal Story with Plot Planners to better see the whole of of their stories and how each scene fits into the collective of the Universal Story.

Each of us benefits from considering our own personal stories and lives against the backdrop of a broader reality and the Universal Story

Writing a story with a plot takes you on an epic journey.

Integrate the analytical, linear and plot elements of writing with the intuitive, imaginative and spiritual elements of writing.

Begin a new story with me as I re-film the The 27-Step Tutorial: How Do I Plot a Novel, Memoir, Screenplay? Follow step-by-step instructions how to plot and write the rough draft of a novel, memoir, screenplay from beginning to end + energize your passion and imagination for writing The Spiritual Guide for Writers: Embrace the Infinite Wisdom of the Universal Story and Transform Your Creativity the Plot Whisperer Way.