How it Works

“The repeated discussions of my plot and everyone else’s really brought home the necessary structure aspects of active characters, motivation and the need to create a plot that flows from the inside out.”

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“After much thinking on my own, I think I’ve figured out (for now) how to address some of the major issues while keeping with the integrity of my story.”

1) You’ll send us a detailed synopsis of your novel, roughly a paragraph or two per chapter. We need to understand:

  • the broad strokes of the plot
  • the protagonist’s (and other central characters’) motives/goals for what they’re doing
  • what action they take to achieve their goals
  • what happens in the story as a result of that action. 

This is not a conventional synopsis that you’d send to an agent, editor, or writing contest. It’s a working document that will give us the information we need to understand your plot. In fact, you needn’t spend time polishing your writing because we aren’t going to critique  your synopsis style. Plot Doctors only deals with story structure, and that’s all we’re going to address. So feel free to give us substance and clarity over style. (And don’t apply that advice to a synopsis you’d send to agents/editors/contests—they will care about your writing, a lot, and you need to use a different synopsis format for that kind of submission.)

2) We’ll look over your synopsis and determine the problems with your story structure. Then We’ll write up notes on the problems we see, and come up with one way you could fix them—in short, we’ll rewrite your plot in a way that makes it work.

3) We’ll email you our comments and suggestions, and at that time you can schedule a conference call (up to one hour) with the two of us to discuss your story and our suggestions. We find that frequently you’ll have questions about why we made certain changes. Or there will be some aspect of your story that didn’t make it into your synopsis that might make some of our changes unnecessary, and you can run that by us…in short, we can discuss your story and our comments on it for up to an hour. Finally, any suggestions we put forward are only one of many possible ways to make your story stronger. And although you can use them all if you like, we don’t expect you to simply rewrite to our suggestions. In fact, we expect that you’ll use our ideas as a springboard for your own imagination to fix the problems we’ve pointed out. Because it has to remain your story.

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“I loved that Hilari and Anna-Maria first presented their general opinion on what makes a great story structure before they discussed our projects. I loved that they explained what worked (i.e. active characters, smart villains, rules in magic, etc.) and what fell short (things happening to inactive characters, linear plots, etc.)

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