Increase Efficiency and Effectiveness Using Plot Formula

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Publish a book every six months.

The golden rule for today’s writers handed down from the Indie Author gods on high.

A seemingly impractical rule if one is committed to producing quality work. And yet, there is practical logic behind churning out books in a short timeframe.

Audience building is critical to becoming a successful author. Readers are book addicts; once you get them hooked, you’ll need to keep them hooked with fresh content to feed their literary fix.

Publishing a book every six months may not be feasible. But improving writing process effectiveness and efficiency is not only feasible, but necessary in today’s competitive market.

The question is, how to accomplish this without losing quality or your mind? One way is by utilizing one of the most effective writing tools available:

Plot Formula.

Yes, the “f” word. Synonymous with “unoriginal,” and “predicable.”

Granted, if used to create and publish books in an assembly line fashion, plot formulas can produce all of these things.

Writers have traditionally avoided anything that lends itself to formulaic writing, and rightly so. Yet, if used correctly, plot formulas:

  • Simplify planning
  • Generate ideas
  • Improve quality and efficiency
  • Provide guidance

What is a Plot Formula?

A plot formula is a framework of established methods, plots and plot elements utilized by the writer to develop story structure.

In other words, a customizable blueprint that covers the entire creative lifecycle, from brainstorming to plotting to writing to editing.

Plot formulas are most beneficial when used as a way of:

  • Meeting reader expectations
  • Managing the flow of information and action
  • Inserting quality checks throughout the creative process
  • Ensuring voice and style remain consistent throughout the story

Selecting a plot formula and determining how to use it is unique to the writer and project. The important thing is to make your plot formula meaningful.

It is not meant to be busywork, but a tool that improves work processes and provides real value.

How Do I Select a Plot Formula?

First, determine what type of plot formula is appropriate for you and your story. Plot formulas come in many shapes and sizes, including the following:

  • Action Story
  • Sitcom
  • Mystery
  • Fable
  • Children
  • Romance
  • Hero
  • Author Understands Me

Next, research plot formula templates (click for examples) and select a template that meets your requirements. Templates can be found online or in writing resources books such as:

When selecting a plot formula, choose one that:

  • Is easy to use and maintain
  • Meets project requirements
  • Can be modified as needed
  • Sparks creativity

How Do I Use a Plot Formula?

Using an outline of your project, evaluate how scenes, plot points, themes, and actions fit into your plot formula structure. The idea is to ensure everything makes sense, has a purpose, propels the story and that nothing is missing. Revise, add and remove as needed.

The goal is to develop, evaluate and adjust the project to ensure you have the correct framework in place to guide you going forward.

Remember,  the more you put into your plot formula, the more you get out of it.

Now get to plotting and best of luck.

Do you have a topic you would like us to cover? Let us know about your suggestion. 


About Author

IDABEL ALLEN is the author of Headshots, Cursed! My Devastatingly Brilliant Campaign to Save the Chigg and Rooted: A Washed in the Blood Tale. When not burrowing in the written word, Idabel is generally up to no good with her family, dogs, and herd of antagonistic cows.

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