Tag Archives: Plot


The Sellers of Best?

Jon read The Stranger (Amazon Link) by Harlan Corben, and when he mentioned it on the previous show, Juliet was shocked that he had never heard of the New York Times Best Selling author.

We discuss best sellers, and then the structure and emphasis of the thriller. Jon mentions When You Reach Me (Amazon Link) by Rebecca Stead which he loves and even tweeted about:

From the back of When You Reach Me (Amazon Link):

Four mysterious letters change Miranda’s world forever.

By sixth grade, Miranda and her best friend, Sal, know how to navigate their New York City neighborhood. They know where it’s safe to go, like the local grocery store, and they know whom to avoid, like the crazy guy on the corner.

But things start to unravel. Sal gets punched by a new kid for what seems like no reason, and he shuts Miranda out of his life. The apartment key that Miranda’s mom keeps hidden for emergencies is stolen. And then Miranda finds a mysterious note scrawled on a tiny slip of paper: 

I am coming to save your friend’s life, and my own.
I must ask two favors. First, you must write me a letter.

The notes keep coming, and Miranda slowly realizes that whoever is leaving them knows all about her, including things that have not even happened yet. Each message brings her closer to believing that only she can prevent a tragic death. Until the final note makes her think she’s too late.

Thought on Plot

What is plot? What common mistakes do writers make? Once we define plot, how much does a novel need?

Juliet and Jon talk about various novels: one with not enough plot, one with too much, and one with just the right amount. (This description makes the show sound like Goldilocks and the Three Novels. It’s not.)

Books mentioned in the show: Gone Girl: A Novel, The Book of the Unnamed Midwife, and Eleanor & Park. (Amazon.com links)

A link to  Freytag’s pyramid or diagram: Plot Diagram

A link to Brian Wasko, who drew a plot diagram much like Jon eventually did somewhere in the late 90s.