Plot Summit October 21 -- idea thread

The plot summit will return in October. I’m excited to start planning the event with you.

Right now, I’m curious if you have topics you would like the event to cover and speakers you would like me to invite. Who teaches an element of plotting well or who is really good at storytelling?

Even better: speakers you already know or can give a referral to!

I’m also interested in any community / tech suggestions. Several people have suggested adding a discord chat room / server to the event, and I’m happy to hear how you would like this to work.

As we discussed, I’m going to put together a “street team” for the summit. More details to come on that.


I struggle with getting to the good stuff, i.e. Twists, mid-Points, and a-ha! Resolutions. Diana Hurwitz has a nice set scene/act ladders that have helped me stick with it!


How to write a query, synopsis, blurb, and elevator pitch (Twitter events). Writing a great first page. Also, how to handle multiple POVs and dual timelines.


I’d be interested in hearing more about plotting for specific genres, i.e., Gwen Hayes of Romancing the Beat acclaim. I would also like to learn more about plotting for dual POV.


I would love to have Angela Ackerman of Writers Helping Writers and Onestop for Writers. Fantastic web platform for helping build characters who are grounded to their why.

Sacha Black-everything she does is amazing-currently working on her Evil Villans book

Jessica Brody-Save the Cat methodology—all about the “Care” we learned about from David and story genre-rather than reader or bookshelf genre


one more:

Anyone who has the secret to motivation and accountability–that won’t cost an arm or leg


I enjoy talks about really specific things - setting, description, tension, characterization, metaphor, theme, etc. It would be fun to be surprised with something I haven’t thought of in that list.


I struggle with managing my strengths. So my writing strengths are things like dialogue, setting and sensory descriptions - and that means it is far too easy for me to use too much setting description and/or too much sensory description to the extent that they slow the story down or push the story to the side. I think we all have certain areas in which our skills are stronger, but not all of us have been able to find the proper balance when using them in our writing. So some techniques to identify when enough is enough might be beneficial.



I’m not sure what you have planned but I’m always on the lookout for helpful plotting books and software. The summit should definately cover software that aids in plotting. PLOTTR is a great example. It interacts with Scrivener, Word, and now has Snowflake Pro options. It also provies templates and allows you to drill down and stack plot arcs, tag everything, color and flag elements, and so much more. I highly recommend it and if there is something out there that competes to this level, I’d like to know.

  • Sacha B is good on plot.
  • Haven’t seen or heard Lewis Jorstad speak, but writes really well about plotting on the blog.
  • Derek Muphy’s Plot Dot and 24-chapter structure is my central plank for fiction right now
  • KM Weilland. 'Nuff said.

Session idea for someone: weaving sub-plot into the main structure of a novel without losing focus or bringing the whole thing to a stop.

I’m thinking of the three sub-plots in Pride and Prejudice that all contribute to advancing the main action; Jane and Bingley; Mr. Collins; and Lydia and Wickham.


I think it would be great if you could bring someone in to talk about writing book descriptions and query letters. I am looking forward to October’s summit!


Yes, Patty, multiple POV’s and dual timelines are right up my alley!


My suggestion isn’t so much about the topics, but about the session format choices. As a country bumpkin who has limited internet, I killed my data limits watching the video sessions live. Not even sure it’s something that exists but wondering if live sessions can also be made available in real time as audio only for those of us who desire/prefer?

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“Hey, I know an idea for another one of Daniel’s super conferences and that would be " how to weave the subplot into the main narrative without losing any forward momentum in the main story”. I am stuck at this point in my own project. It is a story about an athlete finding his way and there is a lot of internal dialogue and interacting with knowledgeable coaches but, at the beginning he meets a girl who believes in him, long before he believes in himself and she is also very prominent in the ending, however, my problem is to move the subplot along at the same time as the main story and keep the pace and momentum going forward without it seem like two separate stories or choppy. Any ideas or help would be appreciated. also could anyone recommend any books with similar structures to the one I am trying to describe here. Thanks for any help!


I would love to see a class on Sci-Fi Fantasy World building as it relates to plot–how much is enough?

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One of the biggest things I’ve learned from the Character First format is that planning for a multi-book series just became a whole lot more complicated. It would be nice to hear from the likes of Kat Richardson or Kate Elliott or Kevin Hearne or Robin Hobb (Megan Lindholm) to see how far ahead they planned their longer series. And what they learned to do (or not do) while doing it.


I’m finding similar issues with a 3-part series. The benefit of writing 3 in parallel means I can go back to the earlier books and tweak character development and plot points.

There’s a chunk of foreshadowing needs to go into Book 2 ahead of events of Book 3. I want to create a knowing ‘a-ha’ moment not a baffling ‘ta-da’ moment of revelation out of the blue.

How folks manage a longer series needs a lot more craft than I know right now.


These are great suggestions! Keep them coming – I will have updates soon.

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I have to think about that, @Donna-mae! Not sure how to deliver it.

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