October 18, 2011

Something fun going on right now.  A chance to help drive traffic between your site, my site, beloved teacher Martha Alderson’s (of Blockbuster Plots Pure & Simple fame) and her publisher’s. Martha’s new book:   The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master

You’ve heard of authors going on book tours?  These days, authors go on blog tours too! Tonight Martha will be at Capitola Book Café, but, DURING THE DAY October 18, 2011, she’ll be touring here at my blog!!!  So, say hello to Martha, ask her a question about your plotline if you like… by submitting a comment to this post.  How to do this?  Follow instructions below photo of Martha.  Be sure to key in your URL to broadcast yourselves. I will conduct a drawing by the end of the week and one of you hardworking writers will win Martha’s new book.

Beloved Martha aka the Plot Whisperer! :) Thank you so much for gracing my blog today. I’ve been having so much fun inviting writers to join us today. I’m serving cyberspace green tea and brown rice toast with butter. :) I know you’ll be at Capitola Book Cafe tonight (in body), but, for the next few hours, we get to have you here!!!! Sincerely, Writing Career Coach Teresa


Writers, You go ahead and . . .

  • Click on the blue header (title bar) of this post
  • Scroll down until you see boxes and fill in the boxes (you do need an email address to submit questions/comments; if you have a website/blog, do promote it  by keying in the address)
  • After you fill in the boxes, you might want to keep a copy of your question/comment before clicking the  “submit comment” button.

If Martha can’t get to all the submissions on this blog today, I’ll keep track of your submissions and notify Martha so that she can respond within this week. On October 22, 2011 I will put your names in a drawing to win a copy of Martha’s new book!  The winner will get an email from me (at which time you can give me your shipping address).

I am so excited about Martha’s new book; I am a better manuscript consultant for having studied it.

And, Martha’s examples of Energetic Markers have given me the sparks to re-plot and rewrite my second novel.  If not for Martha’s teachings, my first novel Love Made of Heart wouldn’t be where she is today–in libraries; archived at the San Francisco History Center; chosen by teachers in colleges and universities as required reading; attracting a steady flow of readers/fans; being my passport to speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves. Because I write about sobering issues (mental illness, stigmas, second-hand violence, physical abuse), my weaving the thematic threads and using the energetic markers to knot the threads result in delivery of a compelling story.  Plot Whisperer Martha, I humbly thank you!


This is the 5-star review I wrote on Amazon:

The Plot Whisperer is Martha Alderson is Obi-Wan Kenobi of Story-Plotlines

Whether you’re writing your first book or your tenth, you deserve tools to make your story engaging, from first page to last. Also you deserve to gain such tools from a seasoned teacher who genuinely cares about helping authors. In The Plot Whisperer, Martha Alderson (of Blockbuster Plots Pure & Simple fame) shows you how to create a sensational tri-level plotline that carries thematic significance. Obi-wan Kenobi showed Luke Skywalker how to trust The Force; Plot Whisperer shows us (writers & editors) how to grasp Energetic Markers. Alderson says: “Like signposts, Energetic Markers identify four major turning points in every story.”

In every story—be it a novel, memoir, biography, screenplay, essay, or picture book.

I am so excited about this book–for my clients–for myself. I recommend that you gift yourself The Plot Whisperer if:

* You have a story in your heart and want help in seeing the big picture
* You were on a roll writing the first half of your book, but lost energy or feeling overwhelmed in the middle
* You have the first draft or the umpteenth draft of the entire project; and you’re asking yourself “Do I really have a memorable page-turner?”
* You’re ready to pitch to agents or publishers, and, you want that last litmus test

This empowering book helps you acquire secrets of story-structure and gain personal energy in order to survive and thrive the writing journey. The Plot Whisperer gives you hope–after all, aren’t you the protagonist too? May the Energetic Markers be with you!


Guess what?  Also, I use Martha’s plot methods for my prescriptive nonfiction (how-to books).  Build and sustain page-turning-energy for any genre.

Also visit The Plot Whisperer’s blog – what treasures!

Remember to click on the blue header (title bar) of this post to introduce yourselves to The Plot Whisperer.

You can get Martha’s book for yourself and your dear writing buddies by asking  your favorite bookseller, going to her publisher Adams Media, or from Amazon.  And, when you write reviews on Amazon and other sites, you’re helping yourself build  your platform and fanbase.

“Reach out, not stress out, when pursuing your dreams!”

Teresa LeYung-Ryan

Writing Career Coach/Manuscript Consultant

author of Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days: Attract Agents, Editors, Publishers, Readers, and Media Attention NOW (print edition & eBook edition)
Author of Love Made of Heart (inspires adult children of mentally ill parents to speak openly about the stigmas and find resources for their families)

Bookmark and Share

66 Responses to “Writers Invited to Camp Out Here–The Plot Whisperer Martha Alderson to arrive October 18, 2011 on Blog Tour”

  • Janet Kerr says:

    Hello Teresa & Martha,

    Okay, I admit it! I am following the Plot Whisperer on the blog tour. And finding it fun as well as informative.

    I am wondering about the actual moment of change in each section of the story. Are there certain markers to look for? So when we speak about the four turning points (End of the Beginning, 1/2 way point, Crisis, the Climax)when is the point that the enegy shifts? I have been doing this intuitively but I am considering that there could be some specific things to look for.

    Thank you Teresa for giving Writers this opportunity & your website is interesting,
    & once again, Congratulations Martha!

  • Victoria says:


    I don’t have a question as such but wanted to say how great Martha’s work is. I’ve been following her YouTube series and (still) enjoy it very much.


  • admin says:

    Beloved Martha aka the Plot Whisperer! :) Thank you so much for gracing my blog today. I’ve been having so much fun inviting writers to join us today. I’m serving cyberspace green tea and brown rice toast with butter. :) I know you’ll be at Capitola Book Cafe tonight (in body), but, for the next few hours, we get to have you here!!!! Vicky & Janet, thank you for being the first two writers to help me welcome the Plot Whisperer! Sincerely, Writing Career Coach Teresa

  • Robynn says:


    Looking forward to the blog tour and reading Martha’s book. Thanks for the
    information and the opportunity.

    Enjoyed meeting Teresa in San Francisco. Heading off to Surrey today.

    Thanks again,

  • Hi Janet,
    thanks again for yesterday! Wonderful way to begin the tour.
    And thanks to Teresa today!
    Janet, the energetic markers signify a shift in the energy powerful enough to turn the story in a new direction or intensity. Several scenes can set the energy change in motion but it’s a moment that signifies that all ways back to the old world order or the way things used to be are gone.
    Intuition is good!
    Count the pages in your award-winning story and look for these spots. I bet you’ll find them and now with a new perspective, you’ll have a different appreciation for those moments…

  • Thanks for your kind words, Victoria! I love hearing that the Youtube series is helpful to you. Thanks for visiting the tour!

  • Hi Teresa,
    Yum. Green tea and toast sounds great. I can actually smell the toast though there is no bread in sight around here…
    Love knowing you’re here all day. I’ll be checking in as often as I can just to say hi!

  • Lucky you, Robynn! Have a terrific time at Surrey…

  • Hi Martha,
    Congratulations on your book and blog/book tour! My clients often have multiple plots rattling around in their heads, do you have a formula or method for discovering which plot has merit and which plot should be dumped or folded into the book as a sub-plot?

    Thank you!


  • Hi Catherine, Thank you for your question.
    Three comments:
    1) follow the energy — at least with the first draft. When a writer is energetically engaged in developing one plot line over another, they’re more apt to write all the way to the end, which then makes it much easier to assess what the story is all about.
    2) character and action are the yin and yang of stories. Every story benefits from the development of both!
    3) create a master plot planner and line up the multiple plots one above the other — usually the primary plot shines through…
    Happy plotting,

  • Linda Lee says:

    Martha- Hello there amazing lady! How much time do you recommend writing a day?
    Next tell me about PlotWriMo, plotwrimo.com, your new project to help writers with Plot, similar to the way http://www.nanowrimo.org/ helps people get started writing a novel. Yesterday our WNBA-SF featured guest author, Rachael Herron (for National Reading Group Month at Kepler’s Bookstore) told us how she got she her first book written. It was through her committing to the Nanowrimo project.
    She said she finished a book, and then put it away and looked at it later and ended up editing and polishing it up and sent it and was published!
    I was very impressed with that. She said that was the most she had ever written at one time and the first time she was able to write the words, “The End”. She said it was very empowering.
    Something Martha has always told me is just write, don’t think about it so much, you have to get a first draft done and you can fix things later.
    I see PlotWriMo http://plotwrimo.com/ as a similar help for writers who struggle with plot.

  • Hi Martha-

    I’m excited to take a look at your new book. I have your previous one, and my question is this: what differences will I find between the two? It has been helping me so much as I plan a new novel!


  • Thank you, well said!


  • Hi Linda!
    I don’t believe that the quantity of writing every day matters as much as the everyday practice.

    Set up a schedule that works for you — best if it’s the same time everyday. Then show up at that same time every day and write — something, anything, just write. Don’t censor yourself. At first, you’re merely establishing the routine. The more you stick to the schedule, the more you’ll stick to the schedule.

    It’s like brushing your teeth everyday. If you forget or neglect to one day, the entire day feels off. This is good. The more you show up for your writing, the more the writing will show up for you.

    Get the schedule going first. Then everyday increase your word count or time you spend until you find your rhythm. Once that happens, you’ll protect your writing time and honor it for what it is, a sacred ritual…

    Thanks for your comments about plotwrimo.com. You made it amazing. I love to visit the page. Makes me smile every time it appears…


  • Thanks for your question, Debbie!

    My first book was written 7 years ago. Since then I have analyzed hundreds more novels, memoirs, screenplays and worked with countless more writers. The new book has all I have learned and gleaned over the years both about plot and about the writing life.

    The biggest difference to me is that my true passion — how the Universal Story can improve the quality of your life — is everywhere in the new book.

    I LOVE that my publisher and editor not only allowed for that aspect, my editor actually helped me make the information more concrete and accessible to the reader / writer.

    I take what I knew from writing the Blockbuster Plots book and deepened and expanded and developed the information into The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master. I am so excited to share this new book with writers and all creative people everywhere!

  • Luisa Adams says:

    Teresa, you are a gracious and generous hostess, thank you for inviting us to this great gathering.

    Congratulations Martha on Official Launch Day! I received the book from my preorder and dug right in with high hopes of help! And, my hopes were realized. The Plot Whisperer is a lifeline for my writing life! My first draft of a novel has languished in a folder for 2 years. I tried rewrites only to reshape sentences and end up at the same starting place! With the guidance of your amazing teachings, I have revisited the draft and realized it was like a jigsaw puzzle with all the pieces in the wrong place!
    So, I’m starting work on Draft 2(many more to come, I’m sure) by rewriting the beginning from summary in past time into scene and present time.In the process, a vital piece of the main character’s life that I didn’t see before has revealed itself. Phew!
    Thank you Martha for your dedication to the craft of writing and the spirit of living a full and meaninful life!


  • Hi Luisa,

    I LOVE that you’re here!!! What a thrill. I thought you’d be to enveloped in your magical world at the lake to even be aware of this. But, of course, all for one… one for all…

    I LOVE that you’re writing again. Goosebumps and a smile… that’s me right now.

    love always,

  • Hi Martha,
    Your book sounds great. Is it available right now? I wish I could be at your event, but sadly cannot. I have a question about book endings. In the book I’m currently revising, I think I went on too long, describing what happened to every dastardly person. I’ve decided this isn’t necessary. Ending it with some resolution and even leaving open questions is okay. Your comments?

  • Hi Tory!
    Fun to hear from you. Thanks for visiting!

    Yes, the book is available now. Sold out on Amazon but more are on their way. Barnes and Noble online and all independent bookstores should have stock on hand. Thanks for asking.

    yes, I go into detail about that end of the book .

    I like to say that beginnings hook readers. Endings create fans.

    As soon as the climax is over, the energy of the story is over. Go on too long after that and you lose the passion you created. Unanswered questions are great — so long as the primary plot has been resolved.

  • admin says:

    This is fun! I see questions to The Plot Whisperer from authors who know their craft, and, The Plot Whisperer giving golden advice as only Martha Alderson can. It’s 11:15am California time. I’m still serving cyberspace green tea and brown rice toast. Refills, anyone? Around 5:00pm Martha’s entourage will escort her to Capitola Book Cafe in Capitola, CA, so please continue to ask her questions about plot before then. Thanks, everyone! Thanks, beloved Plot Whisperer! Love & kisses, Writing Career Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan

  • maybe we can even plot our real lives

  • Martha, congrats on your new book! I’ve just discovered your work and since I’m just in the beginning stages of drafting a memoir, your thoughts and writings will be most helpful. In fact, until reading something the other day on your blog, I’d never thought of memoir really “needing” a plot per se. The more I thought about the clear the concept became. It may be the corner I needed to turn in my drafting.

  • Wow. Awesome,Martha. You deserve ALL the success you have and yet to come. So many authors wouldn’t have completed their work without your plot secrets. What I love best about you is your spirit! Have a great signing tonight and when I’m ready to write fiction, The Plot Whisperer is where I’ll turn. Best, Elisa Sasa

  • admin says:

    Writers, you know what? … nonfiction as in memoirs (you go, Sherrey!), essays, speeches (even how-to books . . . you go, Elisa aka Sasa! You go, Lindsay!) need plotlines too. Anytime you want to engage the reader … you the author can control where to inject what The Plot Whisperer calls “Energetic Markers.” Plot Whisperer Martha Alderson, please shed light on this topic. 3 bows to you from Writing Career Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan, today’s blog tour host for The Plot Whisperer

  • Congratulations on your new book, Martha. I am a non-fiction writer,
    so wondering how info in your book on plots might relate to
    non-fiction outlines? Any synergies there?
    Thank you! Lindsay

  • Do-do, do-do…Wow, Look at the time that I left my questions on
    non-fiction and what time Teresa wrote hers! Something’s up
    with non-fiction and the Plot Whisperer!

  • Yes, yes, yes, shulamit sofia!

    That’s exactly what i hope the new Plot Whisperer book supports writers in doing. Assess where you are on your own personal journey, the significance of the antagonists in your life, the meaning of challenges and to provide insights into graceful ways of becoming who you dream of being — your own true self minus false beliefs and no longer living trapped in fear-based reality and ultimately to seize the prize your most long for…

  • Hi Deborah,

    I believe you’re on the right track to question the feasibility of asking 9 and 12 year old kids to remember a big cast of characters and even more to care about each of the characters enough to want to follow along on their adventures.

    I advise creating one master Plot Planner and then giving the other major characters their own plot planner line directly above the master line. Allows you to track each character’s journey with the entire story in mind at all times.

    Great good luck with that!

  • Hi Sherrey,

    Thank you for sharing your process. Allows other writers to question some of their beliefs about what is needed or not in their genre.

    I wrote the Plot Whisperer book to help writers keep at the task of writing…

    Glad it’s helping. All the best…

  • Hi Elisa!

    Ah, the joys of the internet and Teresa…. I get to connect with some of my very favorite writers!

    Thank you for your kind words, Elisa.

    I remember all of us starting out. With each others’ help we all soared and now look where we are…

    love you,

  • Dear Teresa,

    I’m being hustled out the door with fingers wagging – you’ve got to buy something to wear for tonight.


    Off to shop… groan… will be back to answer Lindsay as soon as I can snag something appropriate.

    Wish me luck!

  • in my memoir, written in first person, I can’t see any other way to present it but chronologically. The plot is a healing journey. Not all the paths I took lead to healing. So I am hoping that is enough tension. The story covers three segments – childhood abuse, the occult, Christianity. But in each section, I can’t know what the future holds. I hope that adds enough tension.


  • Kate Farrell says:

    Hi Teresa and Martha,
    What fun! And what an active blog today. It must be the green tea and brown rice toast, along with Teresa’s amazing promotion. Martha, I saw your post on the NAMW blog the other day and was intrigued by the use of plot in memoir. I find that memoir is a tricky combination of narrative (plot elements) and commentary. Do you suggest that the plot dominate in a memoir, or the reflective voice? I admit to not knowing.

    Good Luck with your live event today!

  • Yay! I found something.

    You’ll never believe it — a woman comes out of the dressing room and gives her opinion on what I’m wearing. I disappear as my friend Cathy Cress (author of Mom Loves You Best) is telling her about the event tonight. The woman then tells Cathy she saw the write-up in the paper, her son is planning on doing NaNo, she buys the Plot Whisperer book and sends it to him…

    Small world or what???

  • Lindsay,

    Synergies are everywhere!

    I believe that a firm understanding of the Universal Story allows one to direct the energy of her piece — fiction, non-fiction, memoir, song writing, sitcom, etc, in a way that is the most compelling and satisfying to the reader.

    Thanks for visiting and asking your question.

  • Deb Atwood says:

    Good luck with your new venture, Martha! My work has definitely improved thanks to your books, lectures and consultations. I look forward to the newest installment. Best wishes, Deb.

  • Hi Heather and Kate,

    Since you both ask about memoir, I’ll attempt to answer you both at the same time…

    When the dramatic action transforms the protagonist — in this case, the memoir writer herself — overtime, the story — memoir — becomes thematically significant.

    The thread that keeps the reader reading is the tension in not knowing what the protagonist will do (her choices) when confronted with the next impossible choice. The reader thinks she knows and reads on to learn if she is right or if the story shifts into a new, though foreshadowed, direction.

    We want to “see” how she reacts, of course, not be told.

    The pieces that make up the whole need to be thematically linked and lead to a thematically significant ending. Just because something happened to you, does not mean that that scene or event belongs in THIS story.

    You’re not writing an autobiography but a memoir.

    What you leave out is as important as what you leave in…

    So long as the reflective voice or commentary ties to the overall thematic significance of the piece, you’re fine. However scenes with conflict, tension, suspense or curiosity where the protagonist — memoirist — is not in control are where the energy surges and the story comes alive…

  • Kate Farrell says:

    Thanks, Martha! What a great answer! Gives me a lot to chew on: yes, inner–outer “action” and how they connect and disconnect to create personal transformation. I really like your last line about the protagonist (memoirist) not being in control and must choose. Exciting! Like life.

    Now it must be time to dress in your new threads and have a wonderful evening!!

  • admin says:

    Dear Folks, it’s 3:45pm California time. I just left voicemail for The Plot Whisperer, encouraging her to take a nap before her entourage arrives at 5:00pm to escort her to Capitola Book Cafe for her 7:30pm appearance. If Martha can’t get to everyone’s fabulous questions today . . . I’ve asked her to come back tomorrow after she tours Becky Levine’s blog. Martha The Plot Whisperer loves writers; she’ll be back. Also, I’ll be blogging tomorrow and later in the week about YOU all. So much fun to “see” and “hear” you all today. Martha, thank you so much for being on my blog today–on the day of your book launch! Have the most delightful evening tonight! Please show us photos on facebook and I’ll showcase them on my blog. A thousand cheers to The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master!!! Lots of love, Writing Career Coach Teresa http://writingcoachteresa.com

  • Hi Deb,

    How nice to hear from you.

    Everyone has been so nice!

    i feel confident going forward tonight. Excited to connect yet also excited to know that within hours it will all be over and I can return to my regular clothes and veg for awhile…

    Thanks to everyone, especially to you, Teresa! I love you.

    I’ll sign off now and promise to return tomorrow so feel free to ask more questions. Fun!

    Wish you all could be with me tonight…

  • In my second book in my Dog Leader Mysteries for middle grader kids, I’m adding three new villains, two other supportive characters and a rescued dog. I’m worried about my readers tracking over ten characters, especially a few with subplots.

    Any hints for tracking subplots and character tags to help myself and my readers? I want to keep my story fun for 9 to 12 year old fans.
    And yes, I have your book.
    Deborah’s question had gone to another post . . . talk about mysteries ! :)
    Martha/Plot Whisperer has already answered Deborah’s question because I had reposted it to this post. Martha Alderson said:
    October 18, 2011 at 11:45 am
    Hi Deborah,

    I believe you’re on the right track to question the feasibility of asking 9 and 12 year old kids to remember a big cast of characters and even more to care about each of the characters enough to want to follow along on their adventures.

    I advise creating one master Plot Planner and then giving the other major characters their own plot planner line directly above the master line. Allows you to track each character’s journey with the entire story in mind at all times.

    Great good luck with that

  • Don Hudson says:

    Dear Plot Whisperer,

    Thriller author Don Hudson had left you a question on my previous post about your blog tour so that’s why we didn’t see it on this post. Don’s question:

    Hi Martha,

    In my first novel in a series of two, i wanted to know what you thought of having a character’s sister die on 9-11 that sets up the inner conflict for a character’s ongoing conflict with his family?

    is that cliche? Will New York editors shy away from that? Or has the 10th anniversary lightened that heaviness?

    Coach Teresa here. I learned how to be a smarter sleuth on my own blog today! Thanks, Don & Deborah, for giving me a mystery to solve :)

  • Martha,
    My question is about plot lines. Does a book have to follow traditional arching plot lines to be of interest to readers. My N.Y agent told me this is true.
    Kooch Daniels

  • Hi Martha

    I hope you’re enjoying your blog tour. It’s fun to read everyone’s comments and to see your responses about plot, writing, and life! We loved having you at the National Association of Memoir Writer’s teleseminar last week–the audience really took away a lot!
    We have been talking about plot during every workshop since!
    Congratulations again on your new book! I wish you all success.
    –Linda Joy

  • Hi Teresa, thanks for the invitation…how exciting that so many are attending this tour!

    Hi Martha, congratulations on your new book! I attended your Blockbuster Plots session at the East of Eden Writers Conference a few years ago. At that time I was working on my Cat Mulan’s Mindful Musings gift book and attended your session since it seemed intriguing and I am always looking for helpful info to share with writers. Your technique was impressive!

    This Saturday, at the California Writers Club, Sacramento Branch luncheon meeting, our speaker Michael Troyan (MGM: Hollywood’s Greatest Backlots) was responding to questions from the group and I had the opportunity to mention you and The Plot Whisperer. People were interested!

    You mentioned novels, memoirs, and screenplays and Teresa mentioned essays and speeches which are much shorter pieces. What is the key to applying your techniques to writing shorter pieces, including stories for anthologies where the word count may be between 500 to 1,500 words?



    Margie Yee Webb

  • Karyn says:

    Teresa! Martha! Hi from Australia. Martha, congratulations on your new book. I look forward to hearing all about it when Teresa visits me soon….

  • Hi Don,

    I am reluctant to answer your question directly.

    I’m a believer in writing what comes. With beautiful writing wrapped around exciting action reflecting the protagonist’s personal growth and change, you can sometimes get away with anything.

    You can’t control the timing of its acceptance in the greater world. However, I believe that a story that pushes you to show up to write everyday has merit on that success alone.

  • Hi Teresa,

    You can see I’m back.

    Becky’s going easy on me today so I thought I’d swing by to catch up.

    Amazing night. Two young girl writers showed up with moms. I’m excited to think they’ll read the Plot Whisperer book at their age… Gives me goosebumps.

  • Hi Kooch,

    Hmmmmm, the answer to Don applies a bit to you, too.

    Sometimes… maybe… sort of…

    As a teenager, I went with my artist mom to a Picasso exhibit and scoffed at his abstract pieces. My mom was quick to point out that he first had studied and mastered all the traditional “rules” before then incorporated them into pieces that transformed the art form.

    All that to say, doesn’t hurt to have a firm grip on the traditional before you break out into the exotic world…

  • Hi Linda Joy,

    I had an absolute blast (does anyone even use that word anymore??) with you on NAMW’s teleseminar. I’m pleased you’ve had some positive feedback.

    Thank you for the opportunity to reach your writers and share my passion!

Leave a Reply

Subscribe to my blog

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner