The Plot Clock

Why plot your novel with the Plot Clock?

When I work with clients—fiction writers as well as memoir writers—the Plot Clock is one of my most used and most effective resources. As a writing coach, I find this approach to shaping stories helps writers create powerful, compelling arcs for their characters and solid plots based on those arcs.

Sticky spots

If you’re having difficulty understanding where to start your novel (or memoir), the Plot Clock offers suggestions that will make your starting place crystal clear. If you’re floundering mid-draft (Hello, Messy Middle, I’m looking at you!), this method’s strategic four-act structure can pull you out of the swamp and put you back on a productive creative path.

Wherever you’re stuck, chances are pretty darned good that a review of how your plot is fulfilling its obligations: to you, your characters, and your audience will yield big results.

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.

The Plot Clock 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. —From the foreword, by Ryan G. Van Cleave, Head of Creative Writing at Ringling College of Art and Design

Want to get your plot back on track with the help of a professional writing coach?

Let’s put the Plot Clock to work for you!

My Plot Clock consultation can help you resolve issues that novel writers and memoir writers often face, among them,

  • understanding (and capitalizing on) the power of your main character’s inner drive to propel the story forward
  • recognizing the value of putting your most sympathetic character in jeopardy
  • developing ways to keep raising the stakes—so your readers keep reading

Your consultation includes my careful review of your synopsis, outline, and character list, followed by a two-hour phone or video meeting. You can check out my rates page to learn more about novel coaching, or schedule a free writing consultation.

Amazon rave reviews


Joyce and Jamie have helped numerous people to publication, and the Plot Clock is one of their most effective tools.Their approach 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 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

A must read for novel writers: Jamie and Joyce have simplified the complicated formula of novel writing. I’ve read many confusing and tedious books on the subject and PLOTTING YOUR NOVEL WITH THE PLOT CLOCK beats them all. The information is concise, conversational, and easy to follow. Every serious writer should have this book on their bookshelf. ––Norma Davids

PLOTTING YOUR NOVEL WITH THE PLOT CLOCK is a short book that packs a wallop! 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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