The Plot Clock

Plotting your novel

If “plot” had a national flag, I’d be waving it here. That’s why, if you’re stalled at the start of our novel writing process (or stuck somewhere mid-draft), I’d recommend you consider using the Plot Clock to discover how your plot is fulfilling its obligations: to you, your characters, and your audience.

The Plot Clock is one of my very best resources to help fiction writers create powerful, compelling plots. Which is why I offer a stand-alone Plot Clock consultation.

When I work with clients as their fiction writing coach, we find traction fast by using this tool! Which is good news for us both—because it means you can write more great novels for me to read!

While I truly consider the Plot Clock the answer to all plotting woes, don’t take my word for it! Take Ryan Van Cleave‘s word! Ryan—a well-published author, Head of Creative Writing at Ringling College of Art and Design, my colleague (and even occasional client)—is such a believer, he wrote the foreword to the book.

Rave reviews of the Plot Clock

From the foreword: One of the biggest challenges aspiring fiction writers face is effectively handling plot. It’s so important, our creative writing program has an entire class devoted to it: Story Fundamentals: Plot. In that class, I offer students a different way of thinking about plot each week. Freytag’s pyramid. Three-act structure. James Scott Bell’s LOCK. Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method.

When I introduced the Plot Clock, it unlocked the potential for story in ways the other methods did not. The majority of students in the class report the Plot Clock as among their most valuable takeaways.

This method is simple, clear, and flexible enough to be useful in any story enterprise, from picture book to adult novel, and from genre writing to the most serious of literature. PLOTTING YOUR NOVEL WITH THE PLOT CLOCK is a must-read for any aspiring writer, period. —Ryan G. Van Cleave

A professional writing coach on your side

I’d love to hear about your story. I can help you make it to the finish line! Check out my rates page to learn more about novel coaching or schedule a free 30-minute consultation.

Amazon reviews


Joyce and Jamie have helped numerous people to publication, and their approach to plotting is one of their most effective tools.The Plot Clock just might be the magic antidote to your writing woes. —Stacie Ramey, author of THE HOMECOMING, THE SISTER PACT, and THE SECRETS WE BURY

For a “pantser” like me, the Plot Clock is a lifesaver. If you want to nail story structure, there’s no better method. This method gives you a simple visual map to represent the arc of your story. It has hauled me out of my boggling beginnings, muddled middles, and decidedly unclimactic climaxes. Learn it and use it! —Gail Shepherd, author of THE TRUE HISTORY OF LYNDIE B. HAWKINS

PLOTTING YOUR NOVEL WITH THE PLOT CLOCK is a short book that packs a wallop! There are chapters on Stories & Plot, The Hands of Time, The Depths of Story Time, Case Study, and a Q&A. There are also helpful templates for your use. I recommend this book to both pantsers and plotters. There is something here for everyone! —Bonnie Cehovet, author of TAROT, BIRTH CARDS & YOU

How do people write without the Plot Clock? Thanks to this easy-to-follow device, my plots are exciting and well-paced. The Plot Clock also guarantees that my characters hit the emotional marks that make for a moving story. —Melody Maysonet, author of A WORK OF ART

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