Episode 38: Plot Without a Formula – Interview with Stuart Horwitz

by Gabriela Pereira
published in Podcast

Hey word-nerd! Welcome to another episode of DIY MFA Radio. Today I’m so excited to host Stuart Horwitz on the show.

Stuart is someone who is as excited about connecting with writers and helping them reach their goals as I am. We’ll be talking about planning your novel and how to plot without a formula.

But first, a quick introduction. Stuart is the founder and principal of Book Architecture, a firm of independent editors based in Providence, New York, and Boston. He developed the Book Architecture Method over fifteen years of helping writers get from first draft to final draft. He’s also a super-smart guy whose work I really admire, and good friend.

His first book, Blueprint Your Bestseller: Organize and Revise Any Manuscript with the Book Architecture Method (Penguin/Perigee) was named one of the best books about writing in 2013 by The Writer magazine. Now his second book, Book Architecture: How to Plot and Outline Without Using a Formula, is being released in a few short weeks.

In this episode, Stuart and I talk about:

  • Common struggles that writers face
  • The three big elements that shape your draft: scene, series, and theme
  • Geeking out over Harry Potter
  • How to tackle your work as opposed to tinkering with it
  • Non-formulaic plotting/outlining and the tools that can keep you organized
  • The importance of finding a neutral audience
  • How to work with beta readers
“Intelligent planning is not the enemy of creative genius.” — Stuart Horwitz (Tweet this.)

Plus: Stuart shares his #1 tip for writers.


Here’s the link where you can grab your signed limited edition pre-release of Stuart’s new book, Book Architecture. Stuart is doing an awesome, special discount for DIY MFA readers, so use this link first.

If the limited editions are sold out, you can order a regular copy here.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” — Maya Angelou

Link to Episode 38

(Right-click to download.)

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Until next week, keep writing and keep being awesome.


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