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Jane K. Cleland’s Plotting Roadmap

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Jane K. Cleland wears many hats—those of a college instructor, professional speaker, curriculum developer, workshop facilitator, board member, corporate trainer, author of award-winning fiction and nonfiction books, etc., etc.

Membership in Sisters in Crime includes classes, workshops and video presentations by crime fiction writers. The other day, Cleland offered a webinar that featured her roadmap for plotting a novel.

The entire webinar was instructive, but of personal interest was Cleland’s acronym TRD for Twists, Reversals, and Dangers. Twists take readers in unexpected directions; Reversals take readers in opposite directions; and Dangers are incidents (physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual) that increase tension through fear.

Cleland explained that carefully placed TRDs control a novel’s pacing—additional TRDs increase the pacing (as found in thrillers, for example) while more widely spaced TRDs slow the pacing (as found in literary works, for example).

Jane K. Cleland is the author of the award-winning cozy series Josie Prescott Antiques Mysteries (Minotaur, St. Martin’s) and several craft books for writers (Writer’s Digest Books; DCA, Inc.). Many authors (including David Baldacci, Dan Brown and Louise Penny), have endorsed her books Mastering Plot Twists and Mastering Suspense Structures & Plot.

What are your thoughts about Jane K. Cleland’s plotting roadmap?

Published inAuthorMysteryPlot

One Comment

  1. Maureen,

    Thanks for bringing Jane Cleland’s excellent infographic to our attention. From my years of writing and editing in oil-and-gas marketing, I know that a well executed infographic is often the best way to convey a structure or process (among other things). As a result of your post, I’ve added my name to Cleland’s email list.

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