Toni Jordan’s debut novel, the international best-seller Addition, was chosen for the Richard and Judy Bookclub and longlisted for the Miles Franklin award. She is also the author of Fall Girl, which has been optioned for film, and Nine Days, which was awarded Best Fiction at the 2012 Indie Awards and was named by Kirkus Review in the Top 10 Historical Novels of 2013. Her newest novel is Our Tiny Useless Hearts.
What’s a key tip for developing a page-turning plot?
We all (readers and writers) live in the same cultural milieu – so if your plot point is the first thing that popped into your head, it’s probably obvious to your reader. To make your plot genuinely unputdownable, it should be surprising. When you reach a turning point, make a list of 20 possible things that might happen next. Don’t censor yourself. Your best choice is rarely the first on the list.
You’re the author of several books: how has your plotting process changed over your writing career so far?
When writing my earlier books, I was much more structured in terms of my plotting process (after the first draft, of course – I’m a compulsive pantser). Now my plotting philosophy is so ingrained in my brain that it’s become a much more intuitive process.
Which authors do you turn to get inspired by great plots?
Genre writers (gross generalisation alert!) are fantastic plotters. I think Kate Forsyth, Michael Robotham and Alison Goodman write some of the most thrilling plots around.
Toni Jordan is sharing her plotting secrets in The Unpredictable Plotter, taking place on Saturday, 20 February from 10am-4pm at the NSW Writers’ Centre. This course is SOLD OUT.