This book actually hasn’t been in my TBR all that long. But at the end of last year I decided I wanted to try writing a different kind of book and as I tried to get my head around it, I had a lot of trouble imagining that I would make it all the way through. I realized that although I’ve been a pantser all my writing life, I needed to get a grip on this particular book’s plot before I could start.
I asked around and several people recommended Rock Your Plot by Cathy Yardley, so I picked it up.
One of the problems I have with most plotting books is how long they are. I get bored. I get bored during the whole plotting process, which is why I don’t do it. But Yardley keeps things short and to the point. Yes, you could go into great depth in each of her sections, but you don’t have to in order to make use of her ideas.
Without giving away too much (because this is Yardley’s system and if you want it, you should buy the book!), Yardley divides the book into a few main sections:
- The Premise – making sure it’s strong enough to support a whole novel without being muddy and confusing.
- Characterization based on Goals (external and internal), Motivation, & Conflict (GMC)
- Major plot turning points and pinch points and where they should occur
- Which types of scenes belong where (so that if you are a heavy-duty plotter, you can actually plot every scene of your novel; I will not be doing that)
Rock Your Plot is salted with examples, exercises, and checklists so that you can test your own story to be sure your pacing and plot are on track. This works well for people who like to pants first and then check against the elements of a structured plot.
I really enjoyed this book and I felt as if it gave me the tools to plot at a level I could handle without forcing me to do 5k-word character background sheets and a scene-by-scene synopsis. Yardley also has workbooks on her site for those who sign up for her newsletter. In my opinion, it’s worth signing up to get them. All in all, I’d recommend Rock Your Plot to any pantser looking for a change of pace!