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Plot Gardening: Write Faster, Write Smarter

(Write Faster, Write Smarter #7)

4.40  ·  Rating details ·  351 ratings  ·  60 reviews
Learn to Plot without sacrificing Creativity

What separates great novels from mediocre ones? Story. Authors that master this vital skill keep their readers up at night, and suffer the deluge of 'when is the next book coming out' emails.

Whether you are a first time novelist, or a seasoned author Plot Gardening will teach you the fundamentals of storytelling, delivered in
Kindle Edition, 170 pages
Published April 21st 2018
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Average rating 4.40  · 
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 ·  351 ratings  ·  60 reviews

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Dec 08, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
Trash! Feels like this guy has not read a book in his life. The example novel he walks us through the process of outlining is literally sickening.
C.L. Cannon
Aug 15, 2020 rated it liked it
As a pantser, I was hoping this would help me become a plotter, but this is not the first book that has failed to make that click for me. I've pretty much come to the conclusion that plotting just isn't for me. My brain doesn't work that way. The book explains plot points, story circles, and plot elements your story needs. I think it would be good for those starting out as plotters to help them organize, but there's been nothing inside that has been new for me after reading so many plotting book ...more
Dean Fox
Jul 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
While not super deep dives, I find Chris Fox's books on self publishing helpful and encouraging. "Write to Market" was probably the most influential to me, but this one was also useful. I plan on skimming back through and compiling notes. ...more
David Galloway
Jun 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing-advice
Chris Fox began writing sci-fi novels in his 30s after a background in software development and has made a science out of self-publishing his novels on Amazon. He also has a popular YouTube video series that has become his 'Write Faster, Write Smarter' series of writing advice books. As you might expect, he has a very systematic approach to writing and has books in his series for writing faster (5000 Words Per Hour), launching your book (Launch to Market), and several other topics.

Plot Gardenin
Elise Edmonds
Jun 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
This book contains a lot of great information on how to develop a novel plot and outline together with characters arcs. Much of it isn't new, per se, three act structure etc. But the two points it addresses which I have not seen mentioned elsewhere are dealing with multiple pov novels and dealing with series. Very useful and neatly condensed book. ...more
Jonathan H. LATER
May 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review was inspired by my annotations. To view all my detailed annotations you are welcome to join my Patreon page (John Lawchamp). For $0.99 you can read my favorite lines and excerpts from the book with additional personal thoughts. The annotations are released once the review of that book has been posted on Goodreads. Why spend $15.00 on a book you are not invested in when you can explore the main topics for a fraction of the price? Visit Patreon:

John Law
Stan James
Sep 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
This is a perfectly cromulent book on outlining a novel and Fox goes into detail on two popular methods, the traditional three-act approach and the perhaps less-familiar story circle.

Running with the gardening metaphor, Fox provides step-by-step instructions and illustrates them with examples from several popular movies (relying primarily on Star Wars) and also drawing from his own work--including examples where he failed, and then learned from the failure.

Each chapter has exercises to follow at
Katje van Loon
Apr 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Definitely useful. Implementing this book's ideas has helped me immensely already. I've typed out 903 words of plotting and notes for one WIP and I'm sure more will come later.

I've called myself a "plantser" for a while (combo of planner and pantser) but to be honest, that entailed a lot of flailing and "I DON'T KNOW WHAT I'M DOING HELP". This book gave me some tools to actually plants efficiently, which I'm excited about.

If you consider yourself in between a planner and a pantser and also fee
Percival Constantine
May 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I just reread this as I'm preparing to outline my newest book and have found it to be extremely practical. The LAYER method Chris advocates to begin the planning of a book really helped me out a lot in getting a jump-start on what to do.

In my writing, like many I've often found act two to be a struggle. But Chris' way of breaking down act two made it feel a lot less vast and wide as opposed to other guides. Now no longer am I struggling to think of what to add in the second act, but I'm actuall
Mary Mithrilil
Jun 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
I can finally see right through (almost) everything I've read so far. Every story, character and setting down to their primal compounds. This book teaches plot pattern and structure by following examples from the Matrix, Game of Thrones and Star Wars . The exercises on this one are slightly more demanding but I'm sure they're worth the time.

Where'd that one star go: okay, the aforementioned examples may end up being 60% of the book.
Apr 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
While I have no intention of writing a book something about this non-fiction book had me curious. And then I was thinking even if it won't apply it, I could still read it because I find it informative. So I ended up buying and reading this book and I thought this was a great informative read about plotting or plot gardening as the author names it. The author has assembled a method he calls plot gardening to plot your novel and explains the various steps you have to go through to create an outlin ...more
E.A. Copen
Apr 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
For plotters and pantsers alike

This book does a wonderful job breaking down several great outlining techniques but it also addresses storytelling in a way pantsers wanting to do a little plotting will find useful.
Tonya Burrows
Jan 16, 2019 rated it liked it
The one idea I really took from this: a plot is a series of set-ups and pay-offs. Never thought of it that way!
Great addition to the series!
UPDATE: Just finished the Audio-book version and enjoyed it very much.
Very useful and practical addition to the series.
Aug 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Hello lovelies!!

I've been wanting to read all the books in this series...since I first found Chris Fox on YouTube!! And with payday just yesterday, I thought I'd make it a priority the same way I'm trying to make my writing a priority this year!

Where I'm at with my writing though, I thought that a book on outlining would be the most helpful. I have the first draft, I have the words. What I don't have is an understanding of exactly where I'm wanting everything to fit. I have so many ideas and so
Paul Fleming
May 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing

I am biased. I've watched Chris' videos on YouTube and gained a tremendous respect for how much pertinent information he gives in each. I've become a fan of his approach and manner over time, and also am grateful that all his videos are completely free to watch over and over again. No subscription required nor do I have to mortgage a body organ to join a course to gain access... No. They're just out there to help fellow authors develop and master the craft.

He has studied and learnt the
Janine Prince
Jan 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Another short and helpful book from prolific Sci Fi author Chris Fox. This book steps you through a style of book development he's calling "plot gardening" - it's a nice organic metaphor for a process that is not quite pantsing and not 'make an outline and stick to it'. This is part of a series of books on writing and publishing, but is a standalone title - you don't need to have read his others.
This process supports writers who like to 'discover by writing' but it adds some framework to the ide
Sean Bai
Mar 26, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: did-not-like
Not for a pantser like me...

I've read Chris Fox's "Write to Market" and "Six Figure Author", which are books 3 and 5 in his series on writing. I gave them both five stars.

Maybe this is a personal pet peeve of mine, but I struggled to read this book. Right from the beginning, I felt Chris Fox relied too much on the gardening analogy.

He started by talking about why we like stories and society as a whole, and I felt like I didn't need to know that information.

Chris Fox describes himself as somethin
Aug 06, 2020 rated it liked it
Interesting ideas, but needed better examples for me.

I am not a GoT fan. I got halfway through the first GoT book and binned it. I detest the tv show too.

Chris loves it. That’s where the disconnect is happening. A lot of this book has Chris gushing about GoT, the characters, the plots, etc., and I just don’t get it.

I love fantasy novels, everything from Lewis and Tolkien to Butcher and Gemmell, just not GoT.

The brief summary of the 3 act structure is handy if you don’t want to google it. The St
Jan 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: creative-writing
I really like Chris Fox’s books a lot. I’m a huge fan of Lifelong Writing Habits and assign that to my students every semester. And I really like a lot of the ideas in this book as well. I am going to try it as a way to flesh out a novel idea I need to work on. The main reason it is a four and not a five is because there are a handful of areas that feel too vague, or where there’s too big a jump without enough discussion about how to make the jump. The specific moment I can think of right now is ...more
Erin Grey
Apr 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
My favorite book on outlining

I've read a number of craft books on outline, structure, and plot, and usually come out the other side feeling overwhelmed and a bit confused. All the pages of notes I've made and lists and mind maps don't help me get a cohesive outline together. This book is the opposite. As I read it, I worked through the exercises and now have two outlines ready to go. Best of all, I don't feel pressured to get the whole story clear in one session. This process is gradual and orga
Craig Jr.
Apr 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
This was a great book, with a new approach to gathering information to begin your book. Plot Gardening, is a little different than a full outline. It's gathering all the information you need, and trimming the hedges. I learned many new approaches to getting your writing down, but I hoped it would have been a little longer, with a little more detail on how he organizes everything. However, an excellent book, as are all of Chris' non-fiction pieces on writing. ...more
Jeff Willis
May 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I've really enjoyed Chris' nonfiction book series so far, and this installment is certainly no exception. He does a great job of presenting a lot of different options when it comes to considering how to plot a story, and backs it up and examples from well known works of fiction that the reader will easily understand (or can easily get access to). Even for longtime writers like me, Chris was able to present new information to consider in my own writing disciplines. ...more
Jun 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Some excellent nuggets of wisdom here! Thanks Chris! 😊

Good look at how Chris sets up his story. While I giggled at the garden analogy it makes sense. Always useful information in a no nonsense way. Chris's style is relaxed and easy. This book would be good for both brand new writers and seasoned. Anyone interested in story structure will take something away from this book.
Edward Hudson
Jun 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Edward Hudson
Plot Gardening is clear, concise, and straight to the point. You won't find any new plotting formulas here, just a well packaged breakdown of a few existing plot systems. Chris has a way of taking this daunting subject and making it very accessible.

Just remember to do the exercises. ;)
Miranda Kate
Sep 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: writing
Not what I thought it was.

This book wasn't quite what I was looking for. I was looking for a book that focused on how to organise yourself when writing your novel, not an analysis of story structure or a breakdown of how to write a novel. This would be a good book for novice writers. I need more on planning.
Nov 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing

Dude Christa Fox never ceases to amaze me. He has such a wealth of knowledge that’s so applicable and easy to understand. I really appreciate how he breaks down the exercises. In this book particularly, I really like that he uses real movie examples that we all know to flesh out his information.
Mike Coville
Dec 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a must read book for every writers. Chris covers the entire process of preparing to write. I learned so much about Character sketches, scene dynamics, and the Dan Harmon Story Circle. This book will forever change the way I approach writing.

BTW, I've read it 3 times already, and plan to read it again soon.
Taylor Ellwood
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business, writing
This has been a really useful book. I used the plot gardening methodology with two of the books I'm working on right now and its made the writing process faster, easier, and much more fun because I've got the essential elements laid out and outlined. I highly recommend this book if you want to become a professional author. ...more
Michelle Cornish
Mar 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A unique approach to plotting!

I enjoyed the metaphor of plot gardening, super fun! Chris explains the three act structure and the story circle in ways that had me experiencing many 'aha' moments. A fresh approach to plotting that combines character and plot to create the ultimate outline. The story examples are excellent too!
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By day I am an iPhone developer architecting the app used to scope Stephen Colbert’s ear. By night I am Batman. Ok maybe not. One can dream though, right?

I’ve been writing since I was six years old and started inflicting my work on others at age 18. By age 24 people stopped running away when I approached them with a new story and shortly thereafter I published my first one in the Rifter.

Wait you’r

Other books in the series

Write Faster, Write Smarter (7 books)
  • 5,000 Words Per Hour: Write Faster, Write Smarter
  • Lifelong Writing Habit: The Secret to Writing Every Day
  • Write to Market: Deliver a Book that Sells (Write Faster, Write Smart, #3)
  • Launch to Market: Easy Marketing For Authors (Write Faster, Write Smarter, #4)
  • Six Figure Author: Using Data to Sell Books (Write Faster, Write Smarter Book 5)
  • Relaunch Your Novel: Breathe Life Into Your Backlist (Write Faster, Write Smarter Book 6)

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