Welcome back to Alchemy for Authors!
In this week’s episode I talk with mystery author and Plottr education lead, Troy Lambert, about plotting and using the innovative plotting software Plottr to increase your productivity and write books that will keep your readers coming back for more!
Some of the topics discussed in this episode include:
· How Plottr can be used to increase your productivity and revolutionise the quality of your stories.
· How to use Plottr as a Discovery Writer or Pantser without killing your creativity.
· How plotting can make writing more enjoyable.
· How watching movies can help with plotting.
· How to write Potato Chip Chapters.
If you’re ready to become a prolific author with more readers begging for your stories, or you just want to fine-tune your own plotting process, then this is the episode for you!
Visit Troy’s website here: https://troylambertwrites.com/
Connect with Troy on Instagram here.
Connect with Troy on Facebook here.
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Listen to Episode 21 of Alchemy for Authors – Harnessing The Power Of Your Future Self here.
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Find the full transcript of this episode below.
Episode 47: Plotting with Plottr with Troy Lambert
Jo: Hello, my lovelies. Thanks for joining me for episode 47 of Alchemy for Authors. I am so excited to share today’s episode with you. It’s a craft one this week that should really appeal to novelists in particular, who are looking to increase their writing productivity and take their plotting and story structure to the next level.
But first I thought I’d share just a quick update from me. So I am a few weeks into the full-time day job, having had six weeks off over the New Zealand summer to focus on my writing. And I don’t know if you have either experienced this coming back from holiday or from a break from your day job if you have one, but I have definitely noticed that these last couple of weeks have had a few adjustment pains for me, as I get back into the day job routine again. So I am naturally a night owl, but of course, with the day job, I’m up much earlier. So I’m finding my sleep’s been really disrupted. And I’m battling a little bit with people hangovers. And what I mean by that is I am a real introvert and having to be on, and social with people all day, five days a week, it’s taking a little bit for me to get back into that without feeling absolutely exhausted at the end of the day. And that in itself is not leaving a heck of a lot in the tank for me to tackle any writing. But I do have another deadline on the horizon, which is speeding towards me. And so I know I’m going to have to really work on my mindset a bit and get my energy levels up and get back into a writing routine that’s going to help me meet those writing goals, which are really important to me.
One of the cool things about the episode that I’m sharing with you today, though, is that many of the tips that our wonderful guest is going to share with us, is really going to be able to help me do just that and meet my writing goals. And hopefully if you’re in a similar situation, after having, you know, a bit of time off maybe in January or over Christmas, and that, then this episode’s really going to help you too.
On the book front, this week I am offering a free copy of a short story anthology I’ve been working on with six other authors through my author newsletter. It is finally ready to be released out into the world, which I’m really excited about. So if you’re interested in reading some cool stories written by women across a few different genres really, make sure to sign up to my author newsletter at https://jobuer.com. And you’ll receive one of my short story collections called Between the Shadows, and then a copy of this new anthology called Seven, just a few days later. So if that’s something that interests you, then definitely go sign up and check that out.
I have also got my novels priced at 50% off for the month of February, when you go to https://payhip.com/jobuer. You just need to use the coupon code birthday, B I R T H D A Y. And the eBook is all yours. So if you like a bit of Gothic suspense with a smattering of romance, then you can definitely check them out. And why, you might ask, am I running this promotion? Well, it’s because February is my birthday month. So this is me just wanting to give something back to my readers, and in this case, my listeners too, if you’re interested,
In fact, it’s actually this upcoming Friday, Friday the 17th, that is my actual birthday. And I don’t normally get excited about my birthday, but I am a little bit this year. And it might sound a little bit nerdy as to why I am excited, but I’m excited because I’m actually taking the day off. And if you follow me on social media or you’ve been listening to this podcast for a while, you know, that days off for me tend to be few and far between. I’m a little bit of a workaholic. I do enjoy being busy, but it also means that I can burn out quite often as well. But for this Friday, I’m actually taking it off from the day job as well. And it’s just going to be a day for me to spend however the heck I want to, when I wake up that morning. I’m not going to allow myself to get side-tracked with meeting deadlines or getting lots done or anything like that. So it’s just going to be a really nice, laid back day for me to just do me things, I guess, which is cool. And, it seems a bit funny, but having my birthday as a day off has actually been a big goal for me for quite a while. Normally it seems to fall on a workday. But whenever I have envisioned what my dream author life would look like, it has had the aspect of having my birthday off. It’s just one of those small things that I want for myself. And so this will be the first time in what feels like forever, that it’s actually going to be a reality.
When I’ve talked about manifesting and creating your dream author life before in this podcast, I’ve mentioned how important it is to live as your future self now. And that means bringing your future into the present. And by taking my birthday off, this is actually one way that I’m trying to do just that. So, if you want to learn more about how to harness the power of your future self to make your writing and life goals a reality, then make sure you go back and check out Episode 21 of Alchemy for Authors, where I go a little bit more in depth with that too.
But now it is time to get on with the wonderful show that I have for you today.
So, like I mentioned before, today’s episode is all about the power of plotting to supercharge your writing productivity and quality. Now, before any of you fellow pantsers out there start thinking that this episode isn’t for you, I get it. I really, really do. I think of myself as a discovery writer and the idea of plotting my books is to be honest, a little bit harrowing. But I also know that to reach my writing goals, and with the limited time I have in the day to actually write, I need to up my writing efficiency. And so I want you to listen to this with an open mind. Today’s guest, Troy Lambert, is the education lead for the plotting software Plottr. And some of you might’ve already have heard of this software before. And it’s amazing. Or you might be new to it, and you’re going to learn all about it today.
But Troy himself is a discovery writer and he’s going to share how Plottr, the plotting software, works for him and how it can work for you as well. Even if you are a pantser or a discovery writer. And if you’re already a plotter, then Troy is going to share some amazing tips for going even deeper into your story structure to really get it resonating with your readers, which is really what we all want, anyway.
So some of the things that we’re going to be talking about today, include:
- How Plottr can help you increase your productivity and the quality of your stories, like I mentioned before.
- How you can use Plottr as a discovery writer or pantser without killing your creativity.
- How plotting can make writing more enjoyable.
- And how watching TV can actually help your writing.
- And finally, what exactly are potato chip chapters. This one was a new for me and I love it!
This episode, is just so much fun and I really hope you get lots out of it. Honestly, it has completely changed my thinking around plotting. And if you’re on the fence with that, then maybe it’ll do the same for you as well. So when you are ready, my friend. Grab a drink, find a comfy chair, sit back and enjoy the show.
Hello, my lovelies. Welcome back to another episode of Alchemy for Authors. Today I am chatting with Troy Lambert. Troy is a mystery author, book editor and the education lead for Plottr, the number one visual book outlining and story bible software. Troy is the author of over 25 novels and several works of non-fiction, and he lives in the mountains of Idaho with his wife and two very talented dogs.
So welcome to the show, Troy. It’s so good to have you here.
Troy: Well, thank you. It is great to be here.
Jo: So just for my listeners out there, I’m really excited to have Troy with us. He’s going to be talking to us a lot about plotting because if you’ve been listening to some of my previous episodes, it’s something that I struggle with and want to get a little bit better at this year, to increase my productivity, so I’m not making twice as much work for myself. But what I thought we might start the show with is, I would love Troy if you could just share a little bit more about your background and what drew you to writing and to being an author, and then how you became one of the gurus in plotting.
Troy: Oh, well. So first of all, man, that term guru, sometimes I’m like, ah, man, I don’t, I, I love story structure and I love plotting, and I’ll talk about that in a minute. But anyway, so I didn’t always love plotting. So when I was very young when I was a teenager, even before that, I knew I wanted to be a writer full-time. That’s what I wanted to do with my life. And I really didn’t have much passion for anything else. But, all of the experts, my, you know, high school counselors and college counselors and stuff always told me that was a wonderful dream, but there was no way I could make a living at it, and so because they were the experts, I believed them. And I tell people like, you know, it took three decades of hairnets and name tags and various careers for me to arrive at a point in my life where basically I said, I’ve gotta figure this writing thing out. Cause if not, I don’t know what I’m gonna do with the rest of my life, like, I’m just not sure what is next for, you know, what’s next for Troy. Because I was finding that, just nothing else was really working for me.
And so, I did, so I figured out how to write full-time. And fortunately at the time the indie revolution was happening and there were a lot of small presses and publishers, so there were a lot of opportunities out there. And so I took them. I had no idea what I was doing, but I took them. But when I first started out, I was very much a discovery writer, like I would just sit down with an idea and just write something. And inevitably, that resulted in this just terrible first draft. And I, and I’m not gonna lie to you and tell you that you’ll ever just create these beautiful, perfect first drafts, cuz that’s just not real. But they can be better. But anyway, so, and what I discovered was that worked for a couple different books, but I discovered as I came into another book that I was like, that was a great idea to start this book, but I have no idea where I’m going with this. So maybe I need to plan the last part of it and then I’ll be able to finish faster. And I did, and I found, oddly enough, I actually could finish faster. I was like, well, that was kind of cool. So the next book, I started with an idea. Then I sat down and I was like, about halfway through I was like, you know, what’d be cool is if I knew how this ended so then I could write the rest faster. And so I planned out the last part of that one, and that process just started getting easier and easier.
And so I became more of a plotter, but I had a pretty sloppy process. I had, you know, whiteboards in my office and cork boards with string and note cards and some of you know what I’m talking about. And it was terrible in, in a lot of ways. It was just terrible. I mean, it worked, but yeah, it was just, there was always moving things around. It was problematic, all that kind of stuff.
In 2017, I was at a writer’s conference in Utah, and my friend came out of the dealer’s room, out of the vendor’s room and said, Hey, there’s the software in here, you gotta check out. He goes, I think you should actually buy it. And I was, Okay. You know, cause I’m a skeptic when it comes to stuff like that. Well, I went in and that software was Plottr. I looked at it for about 10 minutes and bought it. And it was not the software that it is now, and we can talk about that in a little bit with all the features and stuff. It was very bare bones plotting software. But it was, looked like little note cards, digital note cards on a timeline that I could move around. And I want that, I need that in my life because then I can clean my office. And so, um, that was kind of my, part of my motivation. And so I bought it, and three years later, in 2020, they kind of did a relaunch. We had a guy, Brian Z, who’s a book sweep, you might know from BookSweeps and stuff like that, came on board. Started working with us with marketing and stuff and he said, Hey, um, you do a lot of stuff for Plottr already. And I said, yeah, I’m kind of an ambassador because I love this software. I think it does really great things. He said, do you want to do that for us? You know, on more of like a, a permanent basis, like actually just help us out with this. And I said, sure. I’m on board. Um, jumped on board. I’ve been doing it ever since.
And so I became, what is now, the title is the Education Lead for Plottr, and basically I teach people how to use Plottr, but I also teach people just about plot structure. Whether you use Plottr or not, if you have an innate understanding of plot structure, you will write better first drafts. They still won’t be perfect. First drafts will still, they’ll always be crap, but they’ll be better and it can save you a lot of time in the second draft and revision process. That’s where people I think get tripped up, is they don’t plan for the first draft, but if they don’t plan for any updrafts after that, they’re spending four drafts to get their novel in into something that they can work with and it’s just a huge waste of time. Like you don’t have to do that. There’s, there’s ways to do this faster and more efficiently.
Jo: I resonate with that so much because I have just at the time of recording this, just a couple of days ago, sent in a novel to my developmental editor. And it’s only my third novel. And of course I wanted to change genres because, you know, like, why not create more work for myself? So I thought I’ll do a paranormal cozy mystery, and I’m a discovery writer, so I usually have, you know, a couple of characters and maybe a scene. And if I’m lucky, it’s the end scene. And I got pretty much three quarters through the first draft and I thought I knew who the murderer was, I wasn’t quite sure, and then when I got to the last couple of like, um, uh, chapters and things like that, it just petered out and I had no idea and I’m like, Ooh, I’ve got this deadline. So I went back to the beginning, pretty much rewrote the whole thing. Still didn’t know who the murderer was. It didn’t really come to me until about three quarters through this entire rewrite, and I’m like, oh, that’s who the murderer was, wish I’d known that at the beginning, and got to thinking this is the most inefficient way of writing a book ever. And it was such long days. And yeah, so I was like, there, there’s gotta be a better way. And I’ve had the software available to me, because all of my friends, everybody raves about how amazing it is, and I’ve never really taken the time because I’m like, well, where do you even, where do you even start? Like when I start a story, I’ve got just a few little scenes and that is me. So what’s your, what’s your thoughts on if you are a little bit like me and you are wanting to write a story, but you don’t really know where you are going, how can you find that plot?
Troy: Well, there’s two ways, well, there’s more than two ways, but there’s two very common ways that people use and there’s a few more that we can kind of talk about.
When you’re a discovery writer, so sometimes people go, part of the fun of being a discovery writer is just discovering the story as I go. Now for mysteries in particular, what I’ve found, because I write mysteries and thrillers, right, primarily. We can talk about that in a minute too. I’ve got a new project this year. But usually for me, I know who did it. Who catches them. Obviously that’s my main character. I would hope: if your protag doesn’t protag in the end of your mystery, then you’ve got a problem. But anyway, so usually I know who did it, who caught them, how they did it, and how they get caught. And those four things can enable me to actually, I mean, I can write a story all the way through without a whole lot of other roadmap if I need to for that.
Now I don’t, I don’t. Usually what I do is I take those few ideas I have for characters and for the setting and things like that, and I develop them. Now I develop them into more points than most people actually are necessary. I develop into between 12 and 20 different things that I know are going to happen, scenes that are gonna happen, sometimes more than that. Right? And then each of those scenes, I have a, a paragraph or two in there that serves as a writing prompt when I go to write that scene. Okay. But you can start with something as simple as like Freytag’s Pyramid, or like the W Plot. And really only you’ve got is between five and seven events that you know are gonna happen in the book. So you take that and you say, okay, what is the major turning point at the middle of this book for the character? Well, there’s your midpoint. Mm-hmm. Right? You know what’s gonna happen in the middle. You know what’s gonna happen in the beginning. And you know the inciting incident if you’re writing a mystery because somebody gets killed, usually or a body is discovered, right? Yeah. If you’re not gonna show the killing onscreen, the body is discovered, right? And that’s what kicks off the mystery. So you have your inciting incident already if you know that much information. Um, and then you can kind of figure out a midpoint and you can figure out just a couple more turning points in the story. And that’s all you need until you get to the revision process.
So sometimes for discovery writers, I call that first draft your outline draft. Mm. Right? What you’re doing is you are creating an outline. You’re telling yourself the story, and then once you’re done telling yourself the story, you can look at it compared to like an established plot structure, like the 12 Step Mystery Formula or the Sleuth’s Journey or something like that. And you go, basically check your work. Like how did I do? So how you would use Plottr for that is you essentially dissect your first draft. You take each of the scenes that you’ve written and you summarize them, and just, you have to get kind of objective on yourself and just honestly summarize that in a scene card on your plot line in Plottr. Like just honestly write what happened in that scene. Now I add another level to it. I also honestly tell myself what the pacing was and I create a tag for that. Mm-hmm. Whether, is this a fast scene, a slow scene? Is this a bunch of exposition? What is in this scene? Right? Because I know if I, if I suddenly stop in the middle of the mystery and explain things to myself, and I’ve got three scenes of slow exposition in a row, well, that’s not gonna cut it, right? My readers are gonna be like, what is this garbage that this guy wrote this time? What, what happened to him? He must have been sick or something, you know, whatever. So I, I need to go through that in my revision process and go, okay, yeah. Because I do the same thing, even though I plan ahead of time, then I go back and check my work with what I actually wrote because big surprise, what I plan to write and what I actually wrote don’t always match up. I know it’s incredible. Never happens to anybody else. It’s totally my problem. But anyway.
So, and then you get down to the end and I summarize each scene and I look at them objectively and match them up with some kind of established plot structure and go, well, how did I do? What kind of story did I tell? And what do I need to do to fix this story? And then my second draft is actually really solid. Because I already have everything laid out, now I can just move things around. I can change things. And the beauty of Plottr is that you can move things around, and you can change things, and you can alter things and you can, um, like now you can import from Scrivener. So I import what I actually wrote with the descriptions in the little synopsis cards, mm-hmm, into Plottr, so I can just check my work. Like, how did I do? Did I do good or am I horrible? Right? Yeah. Um, and in some cases I go and I tell people, look, as of November I’m 30 novels in and I’m about to finish another one probably tomorrow.
Jo: Oh my gosh.
Troy: That is when I’ll finish that one. Right? Um, so that’ll be number 31 for me. And you know what, the draft I’ll finish tomorrow is, it’s a horrible first draft. Just go ahead and give yourself permission to write horrible first drafts cuz it’s gonna happen. But I also am looking forward to the revision process because I know I, I have enough of it that I had planned out with this particular book that isn’t gonna take much to move things around, tighten things and make that second draft into something that I can send to my editor without hanging my head in pain.
So you know what I mean? So there’s, that’s a part of the process is that use your planning and keep that planning loose. So you keep your discovery writer mindset. I just have an idea, this is what’s gonna happen. And go ahead and write that out. That’s your outline draft. Mm-hmm. And then when you’re done, come back and look at it in the revision process with a critical eye. Because, what tearing that apart scene by scene does is it gives you distance from your work. You’re not reading your work anymore and substituting in the words that you thought you wrote or fixing your errors in your head, but not actually fixing ’em on the paper. Instead, you distanced yourself from it. You’re looking at it objectively, and you can actually, by tearing each of those scenes apart, you can now actually see does my story actually work? And then you go in and fix those scenes individually instead of trying to start at the beginning like you did and rewrite that whole first draft.
But the truth is, I mean, did you, what were the improvements that you made in that first draft by rewriting it that next time? Well, maybe some, but they could have been incrementally better if you’d done an analysis, a plot analysis first and said, how did I do? What’s this look like? Am I, did I do all right or am I, did I mess up? And if you can objectively do that for yourself, first of all, you’re gonna save money on developmental editing, cause your developmental editor will have to do less work and they will like you more. They might even buy you chocolates, or alcohol, whatever it is that your editor might buy you, whatever the case may be.
Jo: I’m so fortunate she puts up with a lot from me, but she is so gracious about it. So I’m really lucky.
Troy: Oh yes. Yeah, I mean I work as an editor and I tell people, yeah, I put up with a lot, but you could save yourself so much by just by helping yourself out first. So that’s, yeah, that’s the first part of what that is. So that’s kind of the first part of Plottr, is that plotting and timeline and outlining component, but it’s certainly not the only thing that the software does.
Jo: So, yeah, and so I think we need to talk about that. When I went back to do, particularly the second rewrite, because I just wasn’t happy with where it kind of ended, I had just a notebook beside me, and so for each chapter, I’d write up the chapter in just a quick synopsis as I was going, and then try and keep track of, oh yes, I need to remember to add, you know, to go back and add this in here. So I was just writing ridiculous notes and then when it came to being three quarters through the book, and I’m like, oh, I know that character said something somewhere and I’d be rummaging through. Just honestly, it’s a nightmare. So, for those who are maybe new to Plottr, like really what is Plottr? We know it’s a software, but what is it? How does it work and what’s its features?
Troy: So the, the easiest the way to explain it is it’s a visual plot line or timeline, so, so to speak. But you can create several plot lines. One for each character, one for your main plot, one for your subplot, whatever it is you want to do, right?
And then across the top you have either beats or chapters or scenes, whatever you wanna write in. I happen to write in beats. That’s the way I like to do it. Do whatever you want. I mean, it’s, you can, you can arrange that however you want. Because the way I write mysteries and thrillers, I write what I call potato chip chapters. They’re short, they’ve got strong hooks on either end. And basically what that’s for is that your reader is reading through your book in the middle of the night. All of a sudden they’re done. They’re covered in orange fiction crumbs and they’re not sure what happened, but they lost a whole bunch of sleep. Right? And that’s exactly what I want them to do.
So each scene is actually a chapter. Like I’m creating chapters that are short. Each one is a short, punchy scene with strong hooks to the next one, right? That’s the whole goal. Okay. You don’t have to write that all. But being said, that’s how, that’s the way I do it. So you can write in beats, scenes, chapters, whatever you wanna do. Your chapters can have more than one scene. There’s ways to stack scene cards in Plottr underneath your chapter. So let’s say your chapter has three scenes. You can put all three of them under the same chapter, whatever the case may be, or on different plot lines, even, whatever you want to do.
But those scene cards are like digital note cards. But part of the reason they’re so powerful is you can tag them with characters or settings or whatever you, whatever you want to tag them with. Like I was talking about, I tagged them with the pacing, the speed that was in that particular scene. Was it slow, medium, or fast? Those are the three tags that I use. Just basically, and that’s me. You can use 50 tags if you want to, to describe different speeds, if that’s what you wanna do. But, um, that’s what I do. I just have three, right? And it tells me a lot about my scenes, right?
But the beauty of those tags is then you can filter by those tags. So let’s say you were like, oh man, I know this character did something back in one of the chapters, but I don’t remember where you go. If you click on filter, you filter by that character and you find the scenes that they’re in. And then you, provided you tag those appropriately, you can say, oh, that’s what they did in that scene.
So the way I do it is I kind of do it a threefold process. I plan in Plottr, then as I’m writing I summarize in Plottr and I tag in characters and places. That way, if I need to go back and reference, I have a really fast and quick ability to do that without, um, doing the search function or something like that, I have just those tags I can filter by. Right? So you can see where that character appeared. Oh, she appeared in chapter two and this is what she did. Right?
Also little hint for you directly related to mysteries: as I create another plot line called Clues, and in those little scene cards, all I do is look, put whatever clue it was that I dropped in that particular scene. And that allows me to go back when I’m at the end of the book and drop in additional clues. This book, I’m just finishing up now, I decided that one of the clues was going to be the husband of the killer that owned a particular type of business, but I didn’t decide that until way towards the end. But I put that back in like chapter three. So readers will go, how did you know to put that thing in chapter three? I didn’t know, I did it later. You didn’t know. Anyway. Doesn’t matter. So, but there those little scene cards, you can tag them with different things, right? And you can put as much explanation in those as you want.
We also have, there’s also things that we have that are called scene templates, which provide you prompts for what should perhaps be in that scene. And one of my favorite ones is Goal, Motivation and Conflict, because, and I put that in almost every scene. And the reason is if there’s no goal for the character in that scene, there’s no conflict and there’s no, there’s no motivation, there’s no conflict, then why is that scene in my book? Maybe I don’t need it. Maybe that was just me explaining part of the story to myself and I can summarize that in a couple sentences, put it in another scene, and my reader never needs to see that garbage that I came up with. Right? Because we’re all gonna do that, right?
Jo: Oh yeah.
Troy: So anyway. So we have scene templates within those that help you define scenes, and those scene templates can be as detailed as you want. They can use things that, you know, give you prompts that say, Hey, describe your setting. Describe this, describe that, whatever. Um, or they can just be things like, we have a proactive and reactive scene type template that tells you like, what does a proactive scene look like? What does a reactive scene look like? Because usually the first half of your book is reactive scenes. Then at the midpoint, something happens to your character and they become proactive. Right? Even in mystery. Super, super common formula. Super common formula. And so we have scene templates that prompt you to look at your scenes and look at those different things, right? That way you’re, all you’re doing is organizing the information. Now you can do that as you go as a discovery writer. After you get done writing every day, summarize what you wrote that day. Tag the characters that are in there, tag the setting that it was in, and close out, you know, Scrivener, or Word and Plottr whatever it is, however it is that you work. But I usually have both open, Scrivener and Plottr, and I do tagging in both that prompts me if I need to do something like that.
So anyway, so that’s how it works on the timeline thing. But the beauty is with those characters and settings, one of the first things I asked for, when Cameron, who’s the founder of Plottr, he was like, Hey, what would you like to see? And I was like, one of the first hundred users in the country. So you’re like, what, what would you wanna see? And I was like, well, now that I have the ear of the developer, just make a list. And the first one was a series bible. Yes. And so as you write, what you will know is like I have several series, it is, impossible… You think it’s difficult to hold a novel in your head all at once? It’s really difficult to hold a series in your head. So I actually have a series arc, which is the story of the overall series, that B story that runs through the entire series. I have that plotted out and it’s possible to do that in another window.
But then I have all the characters arranged by book. So even if your character grows from book to book, so like in the book that I’m just finishing up, one of the main characters is actually leaving the series and the other main character is taking the lead. Right? So it’s a complete shift. She’s transitioning from a supporting character to the main characters. He’s transitioning from a main character to a, supporting an even a secondary character. Right? But I can do that because Plottr allows me by book to determine what is each character’s characteristics, what are they doing, how do they grow as a character? And I can look at that through the whole way. So I can look at them as a series character. But if I’m working on a particular book, because this particular book will eventually have 50 book, this particular series will eventually have 50 series, 50 books in it. I’m on number sixteen. So you can imagine there’s a lot of characters. Yeah, there’s a lot of places, there’s a lot of things happening. And so I can look at that all as a series, but while I’m working on that one book, I can narrow it down to only what’s related to that book.
So if that person from book two suddenly reappears in Siri in book 18, I can bring them back. I can kinda, oh, that’s where they were. That’s what color her eyes were, stuff like that, and bring her back. Or I can look back at that and say, you know, if I need to describe her for some reason or whatever, or maybe not. I mean, you know, maybe she never comes back. But I can also look like in that case, I can look at the whole series list of characters too and see, well, so far I’ve had three characters named Mary, so that’s probably enough for this series. I can probably move on to another name, you know what I mean? Yeah. So there’s that aspect of it too.
So you can track your books, like the events that happen in your book in a really organized way. So when you’re on end of the book and you’re going, what did she do in that chapter? You can actually go back and just look at a summary, instead of going back and reading that chapter, you can go back. Cuz inevitably when you go back and read that chapter, you’re gonna wanna fix something, or you’re gonna go, oh, I should have included that detail. Now you’re on Reddit or Quora down a thread like looking, and you come back and you have all this information about that particular little detail that you left out that you, first of all, you don’t even know, didn’t need to know that much detail, but now you do. And then you come back and go, oh yeah, what color were her eyes? And you start reading that chapter again because you, you know what I mean, you’ve lost it cuz you went down the internet rabbit hole, which is not productive. And like even for me, people are like: you write full-time, you have all kinds of times to write. And I’m like, yeah, I wish. I wish that, like, that it worked that way, but it doesn’t.
So your writing time is super precious. You need to protect it, and use it as efficiently as possible. And as efficiently as possible is not going back and rereading chapter two. It’s going back and looking at a summary and going, and then looking, clicking on that character and going, oh, her eyes were blue. She did this, she does this. Okay, cool. And then you just move on with writing your story without having to go down that rabbit hole in that distraction.
Jo: It’s just mind blowing. Like I, as I was, yeah, as I was writing my last novel, I was thinking the whole time I should be plotting this out because this is supposed to be the first of a minimum, a trilogy, but I’m loving it so much that I’m like, oh, well this could be a whole series. And I was having that difficulty, like I thought I’d written down like the color of a character’s eyes and then, you know, and then I’d have to do the, the search kind of thing and realize that no, I changed it halfway through. And there we are. And yeah, so there is actually, um, in Plottr you can keep track of all that stuff, which I think is really cool. You can do a little character profiles, can’t you, with all their traits?
Troy: Yep. There’s all kinds of templates and one of my, like some of my favorites are just recently we added the D & D character templates. So if you’re a D & D Dungeon Master and you wanna create your D & D campaign in Plottr, you can, and it actually is amazing. I’ve seen that people do them and I’m like, oh, I would’ve never thought of doing that, but you know what, it’s pretty cool. Anyway, but another one we have is there’s a dating profile template that we have for characters. Well, for romance authors, man, this is a no-brainer. Yeah. What would your character’s Tinder look like? And then you add the information there and it’s just super cool. And romance writers love it because it gives them all the information that they need about that character’s personality traits and like who they are. And that helps them set up conflicts that are realistic between their characters and you know, all those different kinds of things. And it’s all just about…
Plottr is a tool, right? It’s a writing tool, and the whole purpose of it is to get you writing so you can, I tell people, you can create beautiful Plottr files and I love to see those. Those make me kind of happy. But what makes me even happier is if you show me your beautiful Plottr file and then you show me the first draft you finished using that Plottr file.
Like the whole idea is to make your writing life easier and better. And kind of above all more fun. The job of being a writer is really, really hard. Like I have a friend of mine and we say, this is the most amazing and awful job you will ever have. And both those things are true at exactly the same time, which is why writers are a little, you know. But I’m like, look, the writing part has to be fun. You have to be enjoying this. Otherwise, there are way easier ways to make money. Yeah. Right. There just are. Yeah. So if that’s my goal is to make money, well I’m in the wrong profession, right? Yeah. But, because this is just a hard way to do that. But I’d love it. Wouldn’t trade it for anything at the same time. But that’s, you know what I mean? It’s, it’s just to be realistic about it, we go, look, this is hard. You know, it’s totally worth it, but you’ve gotta have fun while you’re writing. Otherwise, man, what’s the point? You know?
Troy: What’s the point?
Jo: I totally agree and I just love that idea of, Yeah, so it’s more enjoyable when it’s easier, and having that efficiency of having everything at your fingertips and kind of set up is just gonna make it that much easier. Like I absolutely loved writing my last book. It was such a passion project, but, Yeah, it was also quite hard at times because I just keep going down weird, taking weird tangents and didn’t know where the story was going. And one of the things I think that’s really cool about Plottr is I usually start off working in Scrivener. I work in Scrivener and then I transfer it over to, uh, Microsoft Word when I’m sending it to my editor. And, Plottr can actually do a, once you’ve plotted things out, can kind of do a synopsis for you as well, can’t it? That you can put into Scrivener and Word. Is that right?
Troy: You can export to Scrivener and Word, and then most other writing programs that people use, you can somehow convert a Word document into that. Right? You use Google Doc. Which I hate, but whatever. If you wanna do that, that’s fine. Or if you use Word, if you use whatever other program, or you can use Scrivener, well, I use Scrivener and people are like, so I used to teach classes on Scrivener. I used to use Scrivener to the nth degree. Don’t do it anymore. I don’t do it anymore, ever since I had Plottr. But the reason I still use Scrivener for fiction writing as psychological completely, yes. The only thing I do in Scrivener is fiction writing. So when I open it, my brain goes, oh, we’re writing fiction. My muse goes, Hey, how are you doing? I’m like, good. Get on board here because we gotta rock and roll. So that’s why I use Scrivener. So when you do your planning in Plottr, you can export to Scrivener. Right? And what it’ll do is, and you can choose where you put your little synopsis from your scene cards. Usually I put it in the little summary thing that’s over in the inspector, cuz that’s where I want it. That’s the easiest play for me to reference it when I’m writing. It’s the easiest. I have a process. I have a process that I’ve developed and that’s my process. Right? If you can export that to Scrivener or to Word or whatever, and it creates kind of like an outline for you with your notes in there. Right? But then the beauty is you can import from Scrivener when you’re done. So as I’m writing, if I go over and change that synopsis in that little card in Scrivener, then I can import that back into Plottr, and that’s where I can check my work in the rewriting process. And go, okay, I can compare it to, this is what I planned. This is what I actually wrote, and this is an established story structure that tells me. And maybe I messed up and need to fix that and fix the plot holes. So you can spot plot holes, you can spot extra scenes. You’ve written, you can spot scenes that you’re missing, that you need to write, that you’re like, I thought I put something in there about that, but you actually can’t find it. Well, that means you probably didn’t write it. It was just in your head. You didn’t put it on paper. Not that anybody else has ever done that. It’s probably just me again. No. All these things I know. Not alone. I know. They’re just me. I know, I know. Anyway. Um, but you know what I mean?
And like, so we’re all writers, we all do these things, right? We, and we all understand and know that we do these things and the, the key is just, preventing them as much as possible and staying focused. Right? And the biggest thing is just that focus, because then that allows you to go back and do that second draft. So you can import and export from Scrivener. And there are other plans to integrate with other software over time as it’s possible. I mean, obviously we can’t import from Microsoft Word. And that’s, Microsoft doesn’t like to give people their API for some reason. They’re this giant company and they don’t like to cooperate with us. We don’t care. It’s fine, but I mean, it’d be nice if they would. Hi, Microsoft, you know, whatever, but, um, they probably won’t. That’s just a very difficult programming problem. But with Scrivener it’s very possible because of the type of program that it is and, and with some other writing software aswell.
So we’re working on working with those groups as well to basically provide you more functionality that keeps writers writing. I mean, that’s, again, that’s the whole point is to keep writers writing. Like let’s get that first draft done. We did a big, like a workshop and planning thing around Nano this year because why? Well, we can help you finish your Nano project and we just gave people concrete advice. We had accountability sessions throughout, you know. I did nano with everybody that was in that group, which was very exciting cuz I had a conference in the middle and some people coming from the UK, to visit us in the middle of Nano. So there was like a week and a half where, I did not meet my word counts every day. I met some of them, but I mean, like I had major catching up to do and it, you know, but everybody, you got this community around you watching, right? But we basically, the point was that you can take Plottr and with a little bit of plotting and a little bit of planning ahead of time, you can make your Nano easier. Right? Where it’s not that it doesn’t make it completely easy, it doesn’t erase any of the, all of the pain. It releases it, some of it. Right? And it makes it easier to do. Kinda like you’re talking about with your first draft. Like, yeah, I’m really passionate about this book. I love this book. I love these characters. This is fun. But it could be a little more fun if I just had a guide. Right? Sometimes you think if I just had a guide sitting on my shoulder, that would just be like, and sometimes Plottr can help you kind of as that guide. Give you an idea where you’re going? What are you doing? What does this story actually look like? And it, it just helps you be faster and like I say, have more fun. And that’s really what the most important things are.
Jo: So good, so good. I’m really excited to, yeah, really get into using Plottr a lot more now. I think one of the first things I’m going to have to do though, is probably go back through my most recent novel and actually put it into Plottr so that I can build the series from that so that my next book, I actually have a little bit more structure in that.
And so that is one of the really cool things is that particularly if you’re relatively new to writing, there are a lot of templates there. Like you’ve got your, you’ve got your, you know, the classics, like the Heroes Journey. I saw there’s Story Engines one in there, which I’m familiar with as well. Um, there’s different genre templates. There’s also children’s book template, like if you are pretty new to the writing thing, I mean, it’s so easy to go down that rabbit hole because there are so many different ways out there of plotting and creating your story, but it’s nice that there’s actually some templates already inputted in there for you to follow if you’re finding your feet.
Now, you’ve talked about the G M C, the Goal, Motivation, Conflict, which I’m a little bit familiar with that too, I always, yeah, try and input that into each kind of scene and everything as well. But is there particular templates or, or ways of plotting or plot methods that you think, like personally you think are stronger than others, or that you’d recommend maybe for beginning authors to check out?
Troy: So kinda the way I put it is this, if you can understand, well, there’s a couple things I recommend. First of all, if you can understand the three act structure. Most modern storytelling is based on the three act structure. Everything from Save the Cat, to the Hero’s Journey, to Action Adventure, to the Sleuths Journey, which is basically a template that I created that’s for mysteries. It’s the hero’s journey for mysteries, right? That’s all it is. There’s a 12 Step Mystery Formula. But if you look at all of those things, they’re based on a very simple three act structure.
So if you can understand that simple three act structure of the simple Heroes Journey, depending upon the genre that you’re working in. Then you can understand a lot of the other story structures, cuz they’re all based, what you find is they’re more similar than they are different. Hmm. For instance, if you’re a romance author and you like the Romancing the Beat template, right? Romancing the Beat template is a very simple four act structure. And actually if you break it down, it’s actually a three act structure with the second act split in half, right? But that’s, that’s what it is because that’s what most four act structures are, right? And so I tell people to just study one that’s familiar in your genre that you’d like, but understand that if you can see the underlying three act structure of most things, that most screenplays and other things are based on, you will understand story structure overall.
And there are some tricks to learning what I call an innate sense of story structure. Cause I know some people that are very good discovery writers, they write a very good first draft, and when they tear it apart, there’s, it’s actually not bad. If you lay it against the story structure, they’re actually pretty close, just because they innately know how to tell story. But there’s a couple ways that you get that. The first one is by reading in your genre. Yeah. But I used to just say reading in your genre, but that’s not 100% true. I say consume story in your genre. You can watch videos, you can listen to audiobook, you can read whatever the case may be, but do it with the intent of understanding the story structure of whatever that is. So take your favorite movie and take each scene and break it out in on a plot line in Plottr. And then look at it and go, why did this work? Look at it next to a three act structure, or, and you can see how the pacing of it is planned out. You can see how the plotting of it is planned out and see how it works.
But contra-wise; take a story that you hate, that series that you quit on, that book that you quit on. Hmm. And tear it apart, scene by scene and figure out why didn’t it work. Now, some of that may be personal preference. You just don’t like the genre, you thought the characters were stupid, whatever the case may be even. But if it’s a plot issue and you can spot them, then you can go, that is something I don’t want to do in my writing. There’s all kinds of other things that are helpful. It’s helpful to understand your own personality type, mm-hmm, which helps you to understand, first of all what kind types of fiction, what types of stories that you like, but also the type of protagonists that you like. You like protagonists that are like you. Well, if you’re one of nine personality types. Let’s say you’ve got nine, one ninth of the world population, whatever that is at this particular time, that will probably resonate with your stories. Cause they have a similar personality type to you. So you can, you know, write your stories and everybody will be happy. Right? So there’s things like that that are really useful. But if you have an innate sense of story structure underneath all of that, then you can write stories that are really good and that that goes whether you plan them ahead of time or whether you look at them in story structure and the revision process. Either way, the developing that innate sense of story is a form of education. So you can tell your spouse when you’re watching Netflix that this is, I’m actually taking notes and educating myself. This is not just, this is homework. This is homework. This dude named Troy told me to watch tv.
Jo: I do that and I say that to my husband. We’re on a mystery watching binge at the moment, like, Sorry, just suck it up like, you know, this is homework for me.
Troy: It’s just the way it is. Well, you take stories that you love and you just tell them, like I, one of the stories I love a lot is Breaking Bad, the series, Breaking Bad. Yeah. And the reason I love the series overall is because Vince Gilligan, when he started out, the guy who wrote it, had a plan for the whole series, right? So if you look at the whole series, there’s actually a three act structure that the whole series follows. But each episode has a three act structure. And each season has a three act structure.
And if you go down deep and you analyze those things, you understand my, each of my scenes could have a small three act structure. Each of my chapters could have a three act structure. And then each of my books within a series can have a three act structure. And the whole series can have its own three act structure that it follows. And then readers get done and they’re very satisfied because you tied up all those loose ends because you planned it. Like at least you planned some of it. So this is like, I have a series I’m working on now, and I mean I, it is planned. Like I know when this detective in a certain book is going to find out who killed his wife, which is one of his whole goals the whole time, is to figure out who killed his wife. That was the thing that kind of kicked off his whole journey that he’s on right now. Right? And I know which book he’s gonna find that out in, and I know exactly how it’s going to happen. I don’t know all the other details around that book, but I know that information. Right? Because that’s the, the overall story arc of the series. I know how many books are likely going to be in the series. That could vary a little bit. You know, I could play around with that a little bit. But I have a general idea how many books are gonna be in the series, what that story structure looks like, and what the story structure of each book looks like and what he finds out in each book that leads him to that moment when he finds his wife’s killer.
So it’s, you can do this, right? And I can tell you that that process, the plotting and planning process, is super fun because you’re letting your creativity create a roadmap for you, that gets you really where you want to go with more intention. It’s like I can drive from my house and I can say, I’m gonna drive to the east coast of America. Right? And if I start at my house and drive East, eventually I will get to the East coast. It’s probably gonna be a better journey if I have a plan. Yeah. Yeah. Like depending upon the season and the time of year, I may not want to go north through Chicago in November. Not the best, not the best plan, right? That’s not, I may not want to dip into Canada and ride along the, the, you know, southern border of Canada for the, I mean, I’ll get to the East coast, but I may be unhappy and my car may be damaged by the time I get there, right? It’s, you know, that’s a bad season for doing that, but in the summertime, that might be a great drive, right? So I need to make a plan, and if I have a plan, the journey becomes a lot more fun. Because at least I have an idea of that I’m gonna stop in Kansas City, and maybe I have a hotel reserved. Cuz I can tell you from experience driving across the country without hotel reservations, not always the best plan.
You get places and things are happening and there are no rooms that you’re gonna sleep in your car. Um, but anyway. So, you know what I mean? Avoid the sleeping in your car with your plot. Find out, have a plan for where you’re going. So yeah, I would, but I tell people, try all kinds of templates and see which one resonates with you and your story. Check ’em out and then go and find the books and the blogs and stuff that are about that story structure. Don’t let that template be your only guide that’s in Plottr. It’s a great place to start, but you really wanna understand that story structure, cuz the more you understand it, the better your stories are gonna be and the more people are gonna resonate.
Jo: Awesome. I love that advice. And I particularly really like that idea, because I do that whole reading books and watching movies and that, and kind of pulling apart the plot and, and getting an idea, but I hadn’t thought of that in terms of those stories that don’t resonate with you. But I think that’s such a good way to learn as well, and to avoid making similar mistakes. That’s really cool. Now, I know with Plottr, a couple of years ago I first installed it and it was like a desktop app kind of thing, and then I upgraded to pro because I, I don’t know, I got some fantastic deal along the way, and that’s all web-based or something. But can you talk about that? Because there’s two different types of Plottr now, isn’t there?
Troy: Yes. And you can, even if you have Pro, you can still use the desktop app and everything will sync and you can use your iOS app or whatever it is you wanna use. But usually when I’m on my iPad, when I’m traveling, I use the web version on, I just use it on Safari, on my iPad. You can do whatever you want. So there’s two versions and the biggest difference between the two is, first of all, automatic cloud backups for the Pro version. Now you can do cloud backups with the desktop version. Before we had a pro version, I saved all of my Plottr files to OneDrive. Because it auto saves every few seconds, I never have lost a Plottr file. I have corrupted a few, but that was my fault, not the software’s fault. And we don’t even talk about that. That’s just when the programmers look at me and they’re like, they just like shake their heads and stuff. It’s fine. And if you do that, you just email support at plottr.com and amazingly those guys will fix it, and they’ll tell you something in code language that says there was something, something in the something something. And I’m like, that sounds great, does my file work now? And they’re like, yes. So that’s cuz I write words not code, so I don’t understand what they’re talking about. Don’t care as long as my file works. Anyway. But they’re very good at fixing things.
But the difference with Pro is that because it’s a web app, there’s a couple of different things that you can do. First of all, there’s no device limits. Normally with the desktop app, you buy either one device license or a three device license, depending upon how many devices you plan to use to plot. Um, and then that’s how many licenses you have. That’s how, that’s how many devices you can use with that license. There’s that. But the other thing, so because you can access it on a browser anywhere, there’s no device limit. I can access it on my phone. My iPad. Now I’ve looked at it on my phone. I don’t try to work it on my phone because I have what I call experienced eyes. You can probably tell by the white hair and my beard, and what that means is I can’t see, so my phone is too small for me to work on that, but like I do it with my iPad and stuff like that in the browser.
But the other aspect of it is that you can collaborate with somebody in real time on the same file. So if you are co-writing with someone, or if you are like me, like for instance, if you’re one of my editing clients and you don’t use Plottr, you will, by the time we’re done with the editing process, because I’m gonna create a Plottr file of your book, if you don’t already have one, and then I’m gonna send it to you with big letters in places where there’s plot holes, and tell you to fix them. Because now you can’t deny them because it’s visually right there in front of you and you can’t say, no, no, I meant to. No, it’s right there. Visual. You can see it and I can see it. I can say, haha, you’re gonna do that. But it’s better if we’re working through Pro because we can both work on the same file at the same time. So I can make changes and in an instant, you’re gonna see the change that I made. So the new series I’m writing this year, I’m writing with a co-author and we’re sharing the same Plottr files, so we don’t send versions back and forth. We each make changes in our own file, it appears in the other person’s file. It’s great. It all works. It’s, it’s beautiful. So that part, that collaboration piece to me is huge when it comes to editing and coaching clients or when it comes to working with other authors, because then I’m collaborating with them and sharing them in the same file, no versioning back and forth. We got the final, final, final Plottr file. No. Stop the madness. You know. Final number four. Final number six. You know, um, so that’s, that’s super viable. So if you’re a person who, who only uses one device or only uses a couple devices to plot and you don’t really do collaboration, and you’re already good at saving in the cloud. You know, Pro may or may not be the best option for you. But if you at all plan to collaborate with somebody using Plottr, or if you use a lot of different devices and you move around a lot like me, I’m traveling a lot, you know, stuff like that, then I can take whatever device I have at hand and I can access my files, which for me makes, it just make, it makes it possible for me to use the same process I do at home in my office with multiple screens looking like a Russian hacker, and my laptop and my iPad when I’m traveling. I can use the same process, the same process works all across the board. Yeah. So, um, that’s, that’s the biggest differences with Pro. I absolutely love Pro. I think it’s one of the best options. If you’re gonna use Plottr forever, then you should probably be using Pro. But if you just want to try it out, there’s some really inexpensive options for going with a one device license, there is, and trying it for a year, and like we have a 30 day free trial. And we have a money back guarantee. If you don’t like Plottr, you try it for 30 days and you don’t like it, just tell us. I mean, we love it if you tell us why you don’t like it. Yeah, because that’s helpful for us to make improvements to the software. But even if you don’t wanna tell us why and just say, I just don’t like it, and I just want my money back. Well, here you go. Here’s your money back. But we don’t find that very often. Most of the time when people start to try it and use it, they really like it because you can find a way that it works for your process.
So like, I’ve talked a lot about my process and people ask me, well, can I imitate your process? Sure. It’s not gonna stay the same for you. No. You’re going to take my process and modify it into something that works for your writing style and your writing life and your genre. So you’re welcome to whatever I say. If you, if it resonates with you and you want to try it and copy it, go for it. If you want to email, ask me more details about my process, you’re welcome to do that. But in the end, you are going to find your own way and your own process, so that’s.
Jo: Absolutely. That’s cool. Well, that’s just, you’ve got me so excited now to dive into Plottr. Like you really have, like I’m really excited. I was so, so pleased to kind of connect, so, and to be able to have this conversation with you. That’s so good. Where can people find Plottr and where can they find you as well? Like how can they connect with you? Because you are a man with a million different feathers in your cap as well. You’re a author and editor and speaker and everything. So yeah. How can my audience find you and, and check out Plottr?
Troy: Alright, well first of all, I’ll just say that the easiest way to check out Plottr is plottr.com, www.plottr.com, plottr.com. You can also check out our YouTube channel. There’s a whole bunch of interviews that I’ve done with authors, about how they use Plottr. It’s called Thursdays with Troy cause it was usually on Thursday. And hosted by this guy named Troy. Can we really stretch for the name? But that’s on our YouTube channel, along with all kinds of, there’s all kinds of tutorials, demos, demos of different plot structures, et cetera, et cetera. So there’s a bunch of different ways you can learn about, not only how we like to use Plottr, but how other people are using Plottr. There’s a community template section on our website where basically people have gone and created their own templates and they upload ’em to the community templates and share them. And you can just download them and use them for yourself. If you happen to like the way somebody else does something, I usually tell you what you’re gonna do is download them and modify them and then use them for yourself. And you’re probably gonna create your own template. And when you do, feel free to share those to the community template forum because people just like sharing things with each other. Yeah, we have a super robust, uh, Facebook group. And if you have questions, you can always pop in there and ask. And if you think I can answer your question best, then you can tag me in that Facebook group and I will answer because I’m in there fairly often. I’m not telling y’all answer right away, especially right now when I’m finishing a book. But I’ll answer, you know, I’ll answer in a reasonable amount of time or somebody else will have an answer to, to your question. But you’re always welcome to tag me in that group.
So Plottr is all over the place. I mean, we, we’ve been all kinds of different places. There’s all kinds of podcasts, there’s all kinds of tutorials, all kinds of videos, tons and tons of resources and documentation on our website. But start with plottr.com. That’s, that’s where you’re gonna start. Or Google Plottr. Yeah. And you’ll find it. And I tell people actually the same thing about me. So, um, you can find me https://troylambertwrites.com/. But you can also Google me and I tell people, if you Google me and I don’t come up, what it means is your internet service is actually down and, uh, you need to talk to your provider. There’s something wrong. And then when you, you Google me, you’ll find my face is all over the place. Because I am, I’m doing lots of different things. So you can find me on my website. There you’ll find out all kinds of information about my books and what’s coming up and what’s happening now. And in some cases where I’m gonna be, different conferences that I’m gonna be at. Stuff like that. And then you can Google me and just see all the different places where I am and I’m all over the Plottr things as well.
My thing is that I love to talk to writers. I do book coaching. I do all kinds of stuff with writers because I really want writers to not make the same mistakes that I did when I started out. I stumbled around in the dark. All of us at that time were stumbling around in the dark and to a certain extent, we’re all still stumbling around in the dark as publishing changes every Wednesday. Um, sometimes Tuesdays, depends on who’s in charge of the update. Um, but anyway, so we’re all, in some ways still stumbling around in the dark, but I love to talk to writers. I’m also the president of Idaho Writers Guild, so you know, we have a great conference in the spring. Come see me there, you know, I’m, I’m just kind of everywhere.
Jo: That’s awesome. That’s so cool. And I’m gonna make sure that all of those are in the show notes as well. So that’s exciting. It has been so inspiring and fun chatting with you today.
Thank you so much for, for sharing all your knowledge about plotting. I might be moving to be more of a plotter now instead of a discovery writer, so thank you.
Troy: Oh man, if you do, you have to email me and let me know, cuz I just, I love to see how people use Plottr and how they change their process using Plottr. It makes me really excited and really happy.
Jo: I will definitely do that. I’m, yeah, I’m really excited to be, yeah, better focused and more productive with my writing, so I think this is gonna help.
Troy: Yeah. All right. Awesome. Thank you and thanks for having me. It’s been a blast. Absolutely a blast.
Jo: My pleasure. Thank you.
Oh, my gosh. Wasn’t that such a great episode? So here as some of the takeaways from today’s show.
1. Your writing time is precious, so you need to protect it and use it as efficiently as possible.
2. The idea behind Plottr is to make your writing life easier and better and above all more fun. First and foremost, writing should be fun.
3. The key to plotting is understanding the three act structure. A way of doing this is by consuming story in your genre by reading, listening to audio books, and by watching TV.
4. Consider taking the story you hate and tear it apart, scene by scene to work out why it didn’t work for you. So was it poor characterization or were there plot holes? Once you discover what you don’t like in a story, you’ll learn how to avoid making those same mistakes.
5. Try different plot templates to find ones that really resonate with you and your stories. And then do your research and learn everything that you can about them. The more you understand story structure, the better your stories are going to be, and the more people will resonate with them.
6. Consider using Plottr Pro as a tool when collaborating with other authors or when editing for clients. Plottr Pro allows you to both work in real time, and that eliminates that need for sending files back and forth.
7. Give yourself permission to write horrible first drafts. Plottr can help you find, tune everything during your rewrite.
Now I really do hope that you enjoyed today’s episode as much as I did. I found Troy so much fun to talk to. And in fact, after recording this episode, we got to talking about what it takes to be a full-time author and the good, the bad and the ugly around writing full time. So Troy is going to be making another guest appearance on Alchemy for Authors in the future to share some of these insights from his experience writing full time. So make sure that you subscribe to Alchemy for Authors, if you haven’t already, so you can stay in the loop for when that episode comes out.
Now all the links to follow Troy and to trial and purchase Plottr are in the show notes. So be sure to check those out. And after recording this episode and now being a Plottr convert myself. I am now an affiliate for Plottr so I’ve also put a link to purchase it that way, if you desire. All it means is when you use my link, it gives me a small kickback at no extra cost to you and supports me to continue supporting you.
So if you enjoyed this episode and I hope you did, or something really resonated for you, I would love to hear about it. So make sure to reach out to me on Instagram or Facebook or leave a review. Or you can even email me at email@example.com. I love hearing from my listeners. So it really makes my day. Otherwise, I am wishing you a wonderful writing, and maybe even plotting, week ahead my friends.