Why You Should Take a Plot-walk

Why You Should Take a Plot-walk

Episode 391: The whys and hows of putting a plot into words and speaking them aloud

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✍️ Writers: when you’re stuck on a plot, go outside and take a walk with a friend. You’ll still be stuck, but you will get your steps in for the day, and have someone to bitch to. Follow us for more plotting tips. Here all week.

Sometimes Sarina and I take an ordinary walk. Most times, actually. But sometimes, part way up the first hill, Sarina says, Ok, so I have this problem. And then we’re off, trying to figure out why a character would make a certain choice, or how to get someone from point A to point B.

And then I will say, ok, I have a problem. And occasionally it’s that simple, but for me, the problem is usually that I have made my plot so ludicrously over-complicated that it cannot even be explained, let alone reduced to a single problem. Which is a different problem.

And then we try to fix THAT. Either way, there’s a point here, which is: putting the problem, or the plot, into words in itself can help solve it—or reveal what’s really wrong—and also, it can really help to get a new perspective. In the episode, we talk about how and why to do this (it doesn’t have to involve a walk or a dog or a hill), who you can enlist (apparently Kristan Higgins does it with her husband, only he’s not actually allowed to talk) and most importantly, we discuss getting past the all the voices in your head telling you not to, and and note that the louder those voices are, the more likely it is that maybe you need to talk this over with someone before you go any further.

A few things we referenced: the summer planning series, Blueprint for a Book Challenge, which included a LOT of talk about why it’s a good idea to voice what you’re planning to do before you do it.

Links from the Pod:
Becca Syme

Jennie’s book The Last Beach Bungalow

Sarina’s book Rookie Move

Otter (voice recording app)


KJ: The Mistborn Trilogy, Brandon Sanderson

Wreck the Halls, Tessa Bailey

Sarina: The Intern, Michele Campbell

Jennie: Debbie Millman’s Design Matters (Podcast)

The Creative Act, Rick Rubin

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Entertaining, actionable advice on craft, productivity and creativity for writers and journalists in all genres, with hosts Jessica Lahey, KJ Dell'Antonia and Sarina Bowen.