Pub Rants

Fridays With Agent Kristin: Episode 7 – What is A Plot Catalyst?

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STATUS: TGIF! I actually had a great work week. Yes, I  need to read some stuff over the weekend but I’m feeling almost caught up. This means I’m forgetting something huge I’m sure.

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? YELLOW by Coldplay

Okay, so I taped this segment a couple of weeks ago. I’m particularly fond of how I start with “good morning.”

Oh well, the content is still good.

In honor of the first video webinar I did (which tackled how to craft the query letter pitch paragraph in your novel), I thought I’d give some tips for those who couldn’t attend.

When I teach writers how to craft the perfect pitch paragraph for their query letters, it all starts with the plot catalyst.

So what exactly is it? I answer that question in today’s vlog. Enjoy!

24 Responses

  1. Anonymous said:

    While I love Fridays with Kristin, I really can’t stand the black screen tips, particularly the cheesy music. I’m having flashbacks of The Big Friendly Giant segues.

  2. Miss Sharp said:

    Terrific vlog! Professional, easy to understand, and very enlightening. Personally I liked the black screens and music. Having those breaks gave the points time to sink in. Thanks for emphasizing that the catalyst must be more than just a theme and for clarifying with the excellent Legends example.

    Most of all thank you for taking the time to produce these educational vlogs for us. Very helpful!

  3. PBuff said:

    Thank you for the great advice. I’ve never heard it as succinctly as here.
    One question though, at the end you say that if the plot catalyst isn’t within the first 20-30 pages, the story might be starting too late. I always thought it meant the story started too early? And that one should get rid of the backstory and jump straight to the moments before the catalyst takes place.
    (don’t mean to be a stickler, I just want to understand)
    Thanks again.

  4. Layla Fiske said:

    Wow! Thanks for the clarity in describing the plot catalyst. I, too, was grateful for the black print screens. It helps to hear it said and then see it written. Plus I am able to freeze my screen and read it again as I think about applying the concept to my own novel.

    I’ve just finished revising my query based on this informative vlog … thanks so much Kristen. You are awesome.

  5. Northern Lights said:

    Another vote for the black screens and the music. And another thank you to Kristin. About PBluff’s question about starting a novel too early or too late: Last year at the Backspace Conference’s opening pages critique, Kristin and Emily Keyees advised me that my novel started too late. I backed it up about 10 pages and -voila – cleared out a lot of backstory. Pertinent to this vblog, it also moved the plot catalyst out of the main character’s head and into the story’s action. Another thank you to Kristin is in order!

  6. ramblinbess said:

    I definitely have a plot catalyst, but I also forgot to start my new query letter with a one-sentence summary of it. Thanks for the reminder.

  7. Diana said:

    Another vote for the black screen and white letters. Sometimes I pause the video to write it down for myself. 🙂

    I’d never heard the term plot catalyst, but once you started explaining, I knew what it was.

    Great episode!

  8. Natalie Aguirre said:

    Thanks for the helpful tips on the plot catalyst. It really helped to see it when you used the example from Marie Lu’s book. That’s a great book BTW and Marie is such a nice person.

  9. Simon said:

    Kristin – that’s excellent. It’s given me a method / focus for blurbing my novel (‘A Maid of Kirin’ on B&N Nook and Amazon Kindle) –

    A boy falls through an ancient burial site into a magical world where a slave girl’s quest to save a kingdom becomes his own struggle to find a way home.

  10. paddy said:

    Kristin, I totally love you. That was the single most essential piece of advice I’ve heard in months. Now my query letter is more or less writing itself.

    Hats off to you! And keep up the excellent blogging.

  11. said:

    Good, I found my catalyst on p. 17. It made my morning to hear your words and realize I am on the right track.
    Certainly not a difficult concept but one I initially buried way too late in my manuscript. Thanks for this and all your other tips located throughout Pub Rants.

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