Heart Breathings

How To Plot Your Novel, Part One: Series Overview

August 2, 2018 by Sarra Cannon

Writing Tips

Learning how to plot a novel is one of the toughest parts of being a writer. I swear that after more than twenty-five full-length novels, I still feel like there is so much more to learn!

And while it’s true that some people (known as “pantsers”) don’t plot their novels at all, for many of us, we need an outline and an idea of where we are going before we can start writing.

How To Plot Your Novel Video Series

If you are like me and you need to have an idea of the outline and plot of your novel before you start writing, then you are in for a treat! Over the next few weeks, I am going to be sharing with you an 8-part video series on How To Plot Your Novel. Here is what we will cover:

  1. Overview of Story Structure and Why I Plot
  2. Writing Great Characters
  3. Elements of Act One
  4. The First Half of Act Two
  5. The Second Half of Act Two
  6. Elements of Act Three
  7. Bringing It All Together
  8. What Happens If You Get Stuck?

Video One: Overview Of Story Structure and Why I Plot

In today’s video, I discuss the reasons why I am a plotter and the overall structure of a story. Watch it here:

Download Your Free Plot Your Novel Workbook

In an effort to make this plotting video series even more awesome, I have put together a Plot Your Novel workbook that will guide you through every step of the outlining process. And what’s even better is that it’s completely free!!

*Note: If you are already signed up for my newsletter list, check your email! I sent you a direct link to download this free workbook in today’s mail.

Writing Great Characters

On Sunday, I’ll be sharing Video #2 in this Plot Your Novel series, where I’ll discuss how to write great characters. For me, this is the first major step before I even think about anything else. Knowing my characters helps direct the entire plot of the novel, even if I’m writing a more plot-driven story.

I’ll show you what I mean on Sunday! You can come back here to find the rest of the video series, or you can subscribe to my Heart Breathings channel over on YouTube! If you click on the notification bell, you’ll receive a message the moment a new video goes up from me!

Subscribe to my YouTube Channel now!

How To Plot Your Novel

Sarra Cannon


  1. shenoacb says:

    Thanks for this series! Learning how to reliably outline is one of my goals this quarter.

    1. Sarra Cannon says:

      That’s great! I hope this helps! Let me know if you have any questions along the way!

  2. Amy Sevan says:

    Thanks for doing this, Sarra. It was great to meet you at RWA and I enjoyed your talk there, so I’m really looking forward to this plotting series. I’m a pantser looking to save lots of time and energy by introducing some planning tools.

    1. Sarra Cannon says:

      Awesome! It was wonderful to meet you, and I am so excited you are here on the blog! Let me know how these planning tools work for you, and feel free to customize them in any way to work for your process!

  3. Karen Hooper says:

    Thanks for this fun series! I’ve been a Pantser for all of my books. I’m ready to become a plotter so I don’t spend so much time writing scenes that never make it into the final book.

  4. Kat says:

    Hi Sarra!
    Just stumbled across your YT channel today and love the first video of this plot series, and signed up for your newsletter!
    I have been looking on your blog for the workbook download to go along with the vids, but not finding it–is it still available?
    I’m a plotting book junkie too! I have to re-read SUPER STRUCTURE.
    Thank you for the vids!

  5. Yvonne Day says:

    Thank You! I am working on finding my way of plotting my novel.

  6. Yolanda Marie Pierre says:

    Hey, Sarra! Thank you so much for sharing the plotting series and this workbook. Now, I can finally get this book series out of my head and onto paper. I have enjoyed your videos and look forward to following you.

  7. elizabethk79 says:

    I didn’t get a chance to download the Plot Your Novel paperwork, will you be sending it again?

  8. Marion Reid says:

    How can I download the how to plot your novel workbook? I subscribed to your newletter, but since this was included innewsletters before I subscribed, I don’t have the link to download it… thanks!

  9. xoJuliaC says:

    Thank you so much for this, I’m excited to follow your guidance!

  10. Sarra,
    I am a YouTube subscriber as well as on your newsletter list since early December 2018. I’m very interested in this topic since I am what you refer to as a ‘pantser’ who is looking to be better at my craft.
    I join others here to ask that your plotting workbook be made available as a download, whether you charge for it or not is completely up to you.
    Your teaching side shows through in your videos and it is helping me to improve upon my love of writing.
    Thank you for the time you spend on this. You are making a difference in my life.

  11. Caraway says:

    Do you have a Scrivener template for this?

    1. Sarra Cannon says:

      No, I’m sorry! I don’t use Scrivener!

  12. Amy says:

    I am having trouble getting the Plot your Novel workbook. What do I need to do?

    1. Sarra Cannon says:

      If you haven’t already, you can email me. Did you sign up for the newsletter and get a different download? Or had trouble signing up?

      1. I am also having trouble getting the ‘plot your novel’ workbook. How can I email you? I have received other downloads and I am subscribed. I just don’t have the access for the workbook.

  13. Mary Blaustone says:

    Hi Sarra, I am subscribed as well, but am unable to download the workbook. I would LOVE access to it.

    1. Sarra Cannon says:

      Sent to your email!

  14. I love this series! It’s a fantastic way to work on our own novels. Thanks for putting this together!

  15. Kristen Howe says:

    Hi Sarra I came your site from another link. I’ve subscribed to your YT channel and your newsletter. I never got the download for the workbook. Hope you can help me out.

    1. Sarra Cannon says:

      Hi Kristen! Thanks for letting me know. On my end, it says your email bounced. Can you try adding my email sarra@ to your list of approved senders and try again? Thanks!

      1. Kristen Howe says:

        That’s weird Sarra. I don’t know why it had bounced. Sure thing. Keep your fingers crossed.

        1. Sarra Cannon says:

          Just went to check up and it looks like it worked this time!!! Yay!

  16. Monica says:

    Hi Sarra, Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and New Years, and your tribe are doing well. I am writing to let you know I’m having trouble getting the plotting down load? Can you help please?


    1. Sarra Cannon says:

      Hi Monica! I’ll email the resource library link to you again!

  17. Taylor Duncan says:

    Hi, is the download still available? I’ve signed up to your newsletter but nothing received yet. I’ve watched your videos but the workbook would be so helpful.

    1. Sarra Cannon says:

      It is still available! I looked in my newsletter signups and don’t see the email listed here. Can you email me at sarra@heartbreathings.com with the email you used to sign up? I’ll look into it and send you the workbook! THanks!

  18. Thank, Sarra. Even though I have previously published, I love when things are streamlined.

  19. ddlorenzo says:

    Sarra, thank you for the resources. Although I’ve published, I love it when things are streamlined and organized. This is so helpful! Thanks, again.

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Sarra Cannon

Hi, I'm Sarra!

I have been self-publishing my books since 2010, and in that time, I've sold well over half a million copies of my books. I'm not a superstar or a huge bestseller, but I have built an amazing career that brings me great joy. Here at Heart Breathings, I hope to help you find that same level of success. Let's do this.


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