064: The Nature of Plot

The Nature of Plot

Following the Flight of the Arrow

August 18, 2017



Got questions? ICL instructors have the answers. Ask your question at www.writingforchildren.com/speak.

Are you enjoying the podcast? Click here to tweet about it!



Click here to download the show notes with extra resources!

What's the question you're afraid to ask about writing in today's market?

The faculty of the Institute of Children’s Literature is waiting to answer your question! Ask it RIGHT HERE.


Many writing books have tried to explain the nature of plot. Some talk about story arc. Some talk about beginnings, middles, and ends. Some talk about conflicts and character growth. Right now, I’m going to talk about arrows. You shoot them, they travel swiftly to the destination you intend—if you are skilled enough, if you are strong enough, and if you actually have a destination in mind. Some writers say they just sit down and start writing and let the story develop as they write. Some don’t like that kind of “seat of your pants” writing because the writer has to do so much revision. But whether you plan the plot-arrow’s flight ahead of time, or revise until it’s flying straight and true, the plot still needs to fly. It needs to cover the ground from beginning to end in a strong, forward motion.

For more details on how to follow the flight of the arrow to your best plot yet, listen to the full episode.

Click here to download the show notes with extra resources!


Katie Davis
August 30, 2017

@Pam (and Katy!) I will talk about both! You should not need to sign up for anything to leave a message for the podcast, Pam. Just copy and paste writingforchildren.com/speak and click the green button that says START RECORDING, and record using your computer's mic. I would prefer to use that for the show, as it makes it more interesting for the listeners. If I don't get that vm soon, I will still answer both your questions, though!

Katie Davis
August 30, 2017

@Katy Wow! Nepal?! That's amazing to me! Thank you for sharing that, Katy!

Pam Zollman
August 28, 2017

Well, I couldn't figure out how to use the SpeakPipe without signing up for their service on my nonexistent website. :-) So, until I'm able to figure that out, I'll write my comments here. LOL! Katie, I love these podcasts! They've been so very helpful. I just discovered them about a month or so ago and have been binge-listening to them. So much so that your jingle is permanently stuck in my head (not really a bad thing, since it's so catchy and reminds me to "take it day by day."). I'm not able to get iTunes and leave a comment there... at least not with the phone and tablet I have right now. That will change in December and maybe then I'll be able to do it there. Anyway, I have a question for you: Could you talk more about Master Mind groups? I heard you and Julie talking about the one you two belong to and that make me very interested, because it doesn't sound like a critique group. Could a critique group also be a master mind group? Or do those two need to be separate? What exactly do you talk about in your meetings? Marketing? Publicity? Goals? How do you keep each other accountable? How many is a good number for a master mind group? How often do you meet? Should the people in your master mind group all write the same thing you do? Well, you can tell I'm really interested in this! Thanks, Katie! You're awesome!

August 22, 2017

Hello! I just wanted you to know I listen in from Kathmandu, Nepal and I find your podcasts very educating and informative. Please keep it up, and do an episode on how creativity knows no bounds and is thinking out of the box. Thx!

Add Comment

Sign up for our weekly tips & market leads. 

If you write for children, sign up for our ICL newsletter.

Writing for adults? Sign up for the IFW newsletter.