How to Get Moving on Your Work in Progress: A Review of The Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts
When I received my copy of The Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts, I was skeptical. As much as I adore Martha Alderson’s Youtube videos, I just didn’t see how a book of prompts could get me moving.
Fortunately, Alderson has anticipated this kind of reaction. “While following the plot prompts in this book, no stream of consciousness writing is allowed, unless it applies directly to the advancement of the plot of your story.”
Alderson designed her book with 120 prompts divided equally among 4 sections—The Beginning, The Halfway Point, The Crisis, and the Climax and Conclusion. Let’s say you’ve already worked up the beginning of your novel. Now you’re floundering in the middle. Turn to that section. Seem to have lost all steam as you reach the Crisis? Again, turn to that section in the book.
Each prompt is actually a grouping—an affirmation, a plot prompt and a writing prompt. The affirmation is a “you go” section to help prime the pumps. Next comes the plot prompt which reminds you what you should be considering right now in terms of story development. It might have something to do with your character’s goals or the setting or even the antagonist. Last but not least is the actual writing prompt with instructions for a scene in your story.
The wondrous thing about these prompts is that they are designed to be helpful no matter what kind of story you a writing. Mine is a middle grade fantasy. Not an adult novel. Not a screen play. Not a mystery. Yet, the prompts that got me going could be used in each of these kinds of writing.
The first prompt was to write a scene in which your protagonist takes a step to achieve his goal. My character took such a step, and I pulled down 1200 words. The next day I used a prompt about setting. I always know where my stories take place but the details are hard pressed to make it into the manuscript. This prompt enabled me to move my plot along and set the story more firmly in my fantasy world, and I compiled another 1000 words.
Unlike many other programs, Alderson asks you to come up with your own goal. Planning to write a screenplay? Or a novel? See how long a comparable work is, then divide that number by 30. Write this number of words daily for 30 days and you will have a completed draft. All you need to get yourself moving are the prompts in this book. How do I know? 2200 words in two days and counting. Not bad for someone who can’t stand writing prompts.
Find out more about Sue's writing on her blog, One Writer's Journey.
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