Monday, 14 March 2011

Plotting: the unofficial version

Above Malham
For the most effective plotting, forget everything anyone has ever told you about structure.  Instead, take one good friend, well-trained in the art of brain-storming, and go for a walk, the longer the better.  

My Chief Plotting Advisor and I were supposed to be walking round Keilder Water in Northumberland this weekend, but we made the fatal mistake of checking the weather forecast on Friday as we were packing our rucksacks with Second Skin and wine gums.  Heavy snow was forecast, so after a bit of dithering, we decided to cancel and do two day walks from York instead.

Chief Plotting Advisor near Runswick Bay
On Saturday we walked along the coast from just north of Whitby to Staithes.  I still haven't managed to work out how far it was, but there and back sure felt a long way - 14 or 15 miles, I'd guess.  Not a brilliant day, weatherwise, but there is something uplifting about walking by the sea, and it didn't rain until right at the end of the afternoon.  And now I've got a real grip on my next heroine, who had been rather eluding me up till then, so I'm raring to go on the book.

Limestone pavement above Malham Cove
The way down 
Malham Cove
Malham Tarn

We headed inland to the Yorkshire Dales on Sunday, and got the best of the sunshine in the afternoon as we walked from Malham village up to the tarn, and then down past the famous limestone pavement above Malham Cove.  

It was the most beautiful walk ... and we plotted the sequel too, so I didn't even feel guilty at taking the time off work.  


  1. I need a plotting buddy who likes to walk! I love long walks, but I have a hard time finding company.

  2. But did you get your plotting done?

  3. I love the idea of a Chief Plotting Advisor! Can I timeshare yours? ;-)

  4. You'll need to train someone up, Jill, and let me tell you, it takes years! I have a whole plotting team, in fact, and I would struggle to write a book without them.

    True the CPA does try and insist on her own ideas sometimes, and can't grasp the need for motivation ("She's just LIKE that, OK!") so she needs a firm hand (i.e. ignoring) sometimes, but generally they are all very well-trained now and fabulous, and ask only for the occasional name check or dedication. I absolutely recommend building up your own team!

    And yes, not one but two books plotted by the end of the weekend ... playing around with ideas is the fun part of writing. Sitting down at the computer is always a little harder ...

  5. Congratulations on a successful plotting walk!
    BTW, the photos are beautiful.

  6. What a refreshing post on plotting. Loved the pics.


  7. I think I need a plotting buddy! Congratulations on accomplishing so much during your weekend!