Ask your hero these 5 revealing questions to expose critical plot problems.

Liar, Liar,

Plot on Fire

Liar, Liar, Plot on Fire

Stop investing your money and time in story revision feedback you could discover for yourself.

A compelling plot starts with a relatable hero's journey.

And at the heart of those memorable, fan-favorite stories is a duo of self-defeating character behaviors that show you what story your hero needs you to tell and why

Whether you're a newer writer, just finishing your first draft, or a practiced author with published books under your belt, there is a simple technique that can save you time, money, and energy in your early revision process. 

Is your plot on fire with possibility? 

Or going down in flames?

Two people celebrating with fireworks

vs

A fiery meteor about to destroy a city

Discover critical plot problems

Use the 5-question Plot Diagnosis Flowchart to uncover critical plot problems that can sabotage your hero's journey before it even starts.

Boost the quality of your manuscript

Your editors and critique partners can do their best work in the first revision when you've already caught (and fixed) story-breaking mistakes.

Build confidence in your storytelling skills

Stop worrying that you've told the right story, and free up your emotional energy for the story nuances that will hook loyal repeat readers. 

How do you want to spend your writing time?

How do you want to spend your writing time?

Rewriting the wrong story?

Or building layers of emotion, substance, and memorable moments into the right story?

Rewriting the wrong story?

Or building layers of emotion, substance, and memorable moments into the right story?

Setting up the right story in the first draft doesn't have to be a struggle.

Setting up the right story in the first draft doesn't have to be a struggle.

woman writing on notebook with blue cover, holding coffee on white couch
angry smiley face

You love writing, but something is always missing from your stories. And you're tired of going in circles, every dang time, trying to figure out exactly what's wrong.

You want to plan out your story, but traditional plotting techniques just don't work for you. And having to rewrite your first drafts is sapping your energy.

The hero of your book is a shallow version of the memorable character you wanted to write. And you don't understand how to make your hero relatable

Do any of these ever happen to you?

What's the deal? Why is writing the right story the first time so frustrating?

crumpled paper beside a typewriter

Here are the top three reasons first drafts fail:

  1. 1
    The plot doesn't directly tie into the heart of the story
  2. 2
    The opening doesn't set your hero up for a positive transformation
  3. 3
    The ending doesn't reflect a measurable change in your hero

So how do we spot these three plotting traps?

Start with the hero's psychological journey.

Most fiction writers are familiar with the "hero's journey", a series of scripted plot moments that guide a story's protagonist from the start of the story to the end. But we get too caught up in HOW to set up the plot and don't think deeply enough about WHY the journey matters.

The real hero's journey is the path through a mindset shift.

True personal evolution happens in stages—five of them, to be exact—and your hero's story arc must clearly show the protagonist growing as a person as they are faced with conflicts and decisions.

Map out the milestone moments of that personal journey

For some stories, mapping the hero's transformation to key plot moments can be tricky

So when you're trying to figure out what's wrong with your story, you need to start your analysis by identifying 2 critically important elements of your hero character.

By leaning into your hero's deepest fear.

We first need to understand what the hero is afraid of—truly afraid of, and I don't mean spiders. Then we need to figure out what lie the hero is telling themself to feel safe.

We can DIAGNOSE the healthiness of your hero's journey by asking 

5 strategic questions

We can DIAGNOSE the healthiness of your hero's journey by asking 

5 strategic questions

Let me walk you through the 5 Plot Diagnosis questions in...

Liar, Liar, Plot on Fire

Even if you know what trouble areas you're looking for in a plot, you may be too close to your own story to spot those problems objectively.


That's why I created a course to walk you through not only what questions to ask, but to help you understand why those questions matter and how to get to the heart of your hero's journey.


Inside the course

Liar, Liar, Plot on Fire is based in my personal study of human psychology and takes a unique approach to storytelling.


We build the story around not just what your hero should do, but why that specific choice matters in the plot and how to anchor the hero's journey to key plot moments. 

45-minute teaching video

In the full video, I walk you through:

  • exactly what the Fear and Lie are (and how to find them)
  • the 5 stages of your hero's psychological transformation
  • 4 real examples of heroes from books, movies, and my real life
  • the 5 question flowchart that will expose critical plot problems in your story draft

After you watch the video, you can dive into the individual lessons for even deeper study. 

Deep-dive lessons

I've split the full video into 15 individual lessons. Each of these lessons focuses on a small clip from the video (most are between 2 and 4 minutes long).


In these bite-sized lessons, we dig even deeper into why the plot diagnosis technique works and how to use it for your own heroes' journeys.


Each video snippet has its own transcript and subtitles, so you can watch, listen, or read it.

Guided Plot Diagnosis

The Plot Diagnosis section of the video and lessons walks you through each of the 5 questions in depth.


I also give extra guidance on different ways you can ask the same question. These extra insights are a great way to spark Aha! Moments if you're stuck.


Together, the five questions form a discovery framework that can reveal hidden pieces of your hero's path that need to be a bigger part of the plot.  

Real Hero examples

I use hero examples from a published book, a tv series, and a movie. 


Experience those stories, then come back to the lessons to better study how the Lie, the Fear, and the trope empower the hero's journey. 

The 5 Stages of growth

The hero's transformation journey is the true heart of your story. And this is the first time I have offered on-demand, in-depth training on these 5 crucial growth stages.


Experience what was previously only offered in live workshops. 

more Study resources

Each lesson has its own list of self-study resources at the bottom, so you can learn what you need when you need about new topics.


And, in the final chapter of the course, I offer more ways to keep learning and growing as a writer.

Recap PDF

Worried you'll have to write everything down to use while you're working on your stories? No need!


You'll also get a recap pdf with important high-level takeaways from the entire course. Print it out and take it with you.


And if I upgrade this recap pdf to a full workbook in the future—something I'm planning to do—you will get that new version for free.

Welcome & tour

Ever bought a course and felt like you just got dumped into it, with no guidance? Yeah, I hate that too.


So I recorded a walkthrough video that introduces you to the different areas of the course and shows you tips and tricks for getting the most out of it.


I also left you a "Congratulations!" wrap-up message after the final lesson, with more details on how to get help or work with me. 

questions ANSWERED

There are two simple ways to get help in the course.


Check out my Frequently Asked Questions section to see what other writers have asked. It's a great way to find answers to not only your own questions but to get insight from what other people are thinking.


You can also ask a question on almost any lesson. I check these regularly, so scroll to the bottom of any lesson to get help. 

I tried reading KM Weiland's book on character arcs, and I was thoroughly confused (and had a major headache), but your presentation makes it accessible.

~ a student from the video debut of Liar, Liar, Plot on Fire

Liar, Liar, Plot on Fire may have started life as a presentation for a summit talk, but this course goes way deeper than that original video. So even if you you've seen that standalone talk, you've never experienced the full Plot Diagnosis Technique like this!


And this style of psychology-based teaching is the hallmark of how I coach writers to do their best work.


In case we haven't officially met...

Hi there! I'm Sue.

And I help fiction writers spot the emotional gaps in your stories so you can write heroes that readers will remember forever

This isn't just my job. It's my passion. My journey to becoming a book coach took me through some wildly unexpected destinations as it paved my way to this dream job that I didn't even know existed.

  • I stumbled into developmental editing when an author I beta read for told me I that what I was accidentally doing was a real job. I couldn't find anyone to teach me back then, so I figured it out on my own. And I have never looked back.
  • I am a romance book fanatic and have read 1000+ of them, so I'm really tuned in to what makes a romance book work (but I also love reading sci-fi, fantasy, and other escapist character-driven fiction).
  • I am a trained copyeditor (even though I don't offer it as a service these days) and love grammar puzzles. 
  • I'm pretty geeky. In fact, I have a bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering (so I love details and specs and all the complex technical stuff). 
  • And I taught myself how to be a public speaker (and as someone plagued by Imposter Syndrome and anxiety, that was dang hard!).
  • I love cats. My oldest little guy lived until 21 years old (yes, really!), and I'd had him since he was born. I don't have kids, so I snuggle my furbabies and husband instead. :)

I have become known as the "tough editor with a soft touch", and I love that. It's the kind of coaching I look for when I need help.

I have edited and consulted on more than 70 books, and I have helped dozens of indie and traditionally published authors write stories they're proud of.

I came across this quote today and I think it perfectly sums up how I feel about you as my editor, so I thought I'd share it.

“A good editor doesn’t rewrite words, she rewires synapses.”

~ CP Rider, author of The Sundance Series

You may have seen me in...

LA Weekly
Publishers Weekly

One of LA Weekly's "15 Book Coaches to watch in 2023"

The Writing Brave Summit 2023

But let's talk about you

Sue Brown-Moore

I want you to know that I believe you can write a damn good story.

You don't need fancy accolades or expensive schooling to write books that move people.

All you need to do is believe in yourself and get the right training.

I teach all my workshops, courses, and small-group sessions with the mindset that anyone can write. You just have to feel your humanity and bleed those words onto the page.

I no longer offer personal editing services, so the only way to work with me is to be a student in one of my programs or workshops.

A peek at what you'll learn

If you've never thought about why your heroes do what they do, the storytelling theory I teach in this course will challenge the way you approach writing and revising your books. Because your hero has to earn their big emotional moments. And the root of those emotions is reflected in the decisions the character makes at every stage of their journey.

Tootise Pop view of a story: Plot beats + the hero's transformation journey + the character core values

The hero's journey ≠ your book's plot

One of the concepts that tends to trip up fiction authors is that the plot events don't always line up perfectly with the hero's key transformation moments.

Inside the course, I talk about why this happens and how you can be sure your hero's growth moments are anchored in the right plot moments. 

woman holding a shield against a ghost

The Lie is your plotting superpower

Seems a little weird to think about lies when you're revising a manuscript, right? Especially if you write happy-ending stories.

But the very specific way your hero deceives themself is a powerful clue about the true heart of their story.

Once you learn how to think about story planning from inside the hero's psyche, connecting the growth arc to your plot's big moments becomes way easier.

The reasons, the fear, the lie, and the choices

Strategic story breakdown & analysis

I use this 4-stage rubric to break down each of these important elements for the hero characters in my example lessons.

One of these often maps directly to a major plot milestone. And another is a common "pathway to the trope", something I talk more about in the examples section.

Examples from real stories in the Liar Liar course

Real hero examples from character-driven stories

Here's a bird's eye view of that example rubric I mentioned above. 

This chart is from the downloadable PDF that comes with the course. So you can look back at it anytime you need a reminder of what specific character traits you're looking for in your story.

Having this cheat sheet handy is also a great way to study the movie, tv show, or book for the example heroes listed here.

Man at a laptop with an idea lightbulb and a smile

Inspiration & encouragement

One of the biggest pieces of feedback I receive as a book coach (and before, when I was an editor) is that my approach is friendly and encouraging. That's how I've designed this entire course. 

From the video to the individual lessons to the replies I will leave on the questions you leave in the Comments areas of the lessons, my mission is to help you feel empowered and capable. Because you are. :) 

So what's in the course?

The full view of everything offered in Liar, Liar, Plot on Fire

Here's the breakdown...

Monitor showing the video of Liar, Liar

A video that walks you through everything.

In the 45-minute video training, I explain 

  • what the Lie and Root Fear are (and why they matter)
  • all five stages in the transformation journey (and what your hero needs to do when) 
  • the Plot Milestones that anchor your hero's journey to the plot itself (and how they don't always align perfectly)
  • how to analyze your own hero's story arc using examples from publicly available books and media
  • which specific 5 questions to ask your hero (and how those questions can expose problems in your story's plot)
View of the lessons in the Liar Liar Plot on Fire course

Deep-dive lessons with exclusive tips

The full video is split into micro-segments that you can watch in bite-sized sessions. Study when it's convenient for you (and the videos will remember where you left off).

And below each video clip is a text lesson to help you fully digest what you learned in that segment. Here you'll find tips, alternate approaches, and my professional editing insight that I don't share in the public parts of my site. 

You can preview a few of these for free, but most lessons are fully exclusive to this course

Exploded view of the recap pdf in the Liar Liar course

A recap pdf you can print and take anywhere.

We cover a lot in this course, and the best way to retain new information is to keep looking at and to use it.

I don't know about you, but I love having paper docs I can touch and write on and move around my desk. So print this bad boy and have the Plot Diagnosis questions at your fingertips!

This doc sums up the important takeaways from the video training and gives you access to even more insight, like the lessons.

*I plan to expand this recap pdf into a full fill-in workbook, but that's still in the works. All students will automatically get the new version when it's ready!

Monitor showing the welcome video from me

A personal welcome to set you up for success.

I want you to feel welcome and empowered, right from the start of our journey together. So I recorded a welcome video to show you around the course.

There's another video just like this at the very end of the course, where I get to say, "Congratulations for making it to the end!" 

I can't wait to see you inside Liar, Liar, Plot on Fire!

Simple, logical, effective

"Although much of what you said in the replay I had heard before, I never heard it explained so simply, so logically"

Victoria Boyd

Fiction writer

"

Enlightening & encouraging

"This was VERY helpful, in both realizing things about my MC and my own life. Very enlightening and encouraging!"

Anonymous

Fiction writer

"

Amazing. Immediately inspiring

"This was amazing. I already have a lot of thoughts about how to upgrade my character story!"

Anonymous

Fiction writer

"

The anonymous comments above are from attendees of my summit debut of the Liar, Liar, Plot on Fire video training. Out of respect for their privacy, I did not record their names (and would not share that without permission anyway).

Who this course is for

I designed the price of this course to be reasonable and affordable (even with quality and depth of the content), but it's still really important to me that you only invest in Liar, Liar, Plot on Fire if you truly believe it is a good fit for you. So here's a quick checklist to see if you're a perfect match. 

This course is designed for writers who...

  • Write stories about characters who become better versions of themselves in a meaningful way and experience a personal emotional transformation (i.e. you write character-driven fiction)
  • Have tried strategies like K.M. Weiland’s Creating Character Arcs or Michael Hauge’s Six-Stage Plot Structure but ended up confused and frustrated
  • Care about cultivating real emotional depth to their stories and writing books readers will remember experiencing
  • Want to stop rewriting the start of a story because the end goal keeps changing
  • Want to stop rewriting the end of a story because the hero themself fundamentally changed along the way
  • Want a new way way to think about the hero’s journey (the birds’ eye view of what matters most in that story arc)

These lessons are for you

Listed below are the real lessons inside Liar, Liar, Plot on Fire. I wanted to show you the full list so you know exactly what you're getting when you enroll in this course.

A few of the lessons are free to preview, so if you're still not sure this course is for you, check out (click below to open in a new browser tab):

Welcome to Liar, Liar, Plot on Fire!

Everything you need to get started quickly is here, including my welcome video and tour through the course. 

  • Welcome & Overview
  • The legal stuff
  • Liar, Liar, Plot on Fire (full training video)

Understand why the Plot Diagnosis technique works

In this section of in-depth learning, we explore the reasons our characters make decisions and how those human reactions can light up our storytelling muscles.

  • The Journey, the Fear, and the Lie
  • Why the Journey Matters
  • The 5 Phases of the Transformation
  • How Choice Drives Change
  • Lies, Fears, Backstories, & Plot Setup

Examples of the Plot Diagnosis technique on real stories

Watch me deconstruct published stories to learn how to think like an editor and pull more emotion into your plot's design.

  • Daisy Jones from Daisy & The Six
  • Axel Huxley from My So-Called Sex Life
  • Margaret Tate from The Proposal
  • Sue Brown-Moore (me, a personal anecdote)

Learn how to use the Plot Diagnosis technique on your stories

We walk through all five questions in the flowchart, and the individual lessons give you even more insight into how to pinpoint what's wrong in your story and how to approach fixing it.

  • Introduction to the technique
  • Question 1: The Lie
  • Question 2: The Root Fear
  • Question 3: The Opportunity
  • Question 4: The Turning Point
  • Question 5: The Plot vs the Growth Arc

Get the guidance you need

Here I give you suggestions on what steps to take next in your writing journey and tell you how to get help with any problems you have right now. 

  • Frequently Asked Questions (about the course, from other students)
  • Tell me what worked (and didn’t)!
  • Self-Study: Discover key hero backstory details
  • Self-Study: Start improving your line-level prose
  • Support: How to get additional help

Got questions? I've got answers!

Do you offer payment plans?

Yes! Scroll down to the payment entry area below. You should see two options: pay in full and split pay. The split-pay option will charge you $67 today + $67 one month from today.

How long is course enrollment open?

Enrollment is ongoing; there's no current cut-off date to register. However the special launch discounted pricing expires at 11pm Pacific time on Saturday, June 17, 2023. So if you want to qualify for that early bird perk, don't snooze on this offer.

What does “ongoing” access mean? Is it the same as “lifetime”?

I say “ongoing access” because I find the term “lifetime access” confusing. Whose lifetime? Mine? Yours? “Lifetime access” usually means “for the lifetime of the course”, but that’s not clear either.


How long will the course be available? I don’t have any plans to retire it, but I can’t predict what the future will hold for me and my business. So I instead promise you “ongoing” access for as long as I am offering this course as part of my online university. Another way to think about it is that your enrollment is not time-limited, and you won't have to pay again for access to the same content.

Does enrollment lock in future updates?

Yes! When you enroll, you get access to all the current on-demand videos, lessons, and resources in the Liar, Liar, Plot on Fire course. AND you’ll get automatic access to any future upgrades to this course at no extra cost

If I have a question while taking the course, will you answer it?

I encourage my students to leave questions and comments on individual lessons. I also encourage you to respond to other students if you can answer a question they have. I want to foster a kind, welcoming, supportive community, and I moderate comments to be sure that standard is upheld.


I also sometimes pop in to answer direct questions or post extra hints and resources. During the first month after the course releases, I will be especially active in responding to your questions in the Comments area at the bottom of each lesson page. (Please leave your questions publicly.) 


But if you have a story problem that you need editorial help with or think that you’ll need extra insight into the lessons, I encourage you to set up a 1-hour Story Consultation with me at the current rate ($175/hr as of June 2023). As a student in one of my programs, you have exclusive access to book one of these consultations, since I now only offer them to people in my programs (courses and cohorts) and workshops. The link for booking that will be inside your course, in the Resources area.

Will this technique work for me if I write [your genre here]?

That depends! This course is designed for writers who create character-driven fiction stories


Does your genre typically focus on fictional character journeys for people who become better versions of themselves through the conflicts they face and the difficult choices they learn to make? If so, then the Liar, Liar course will give you insight into what story your heroes need to take and why


Once you understand the heart of the story you need to tell, you can use the story beats of your genre to construct powerful stories about personal transformation. This course is flexible enough that the concepts here should work in any story with a positive growth arc for the hero, but it will not tell you how to fully plot that story. And I can't guarantee it will be a perfect fit for your process. (See the 7-Day Refund Offer below.) 

Will this course teach me how to write or revise my story?

No. This course teaches an analysis mindset and shares a framework tool to expose potential problems in a story that is already written.

How experienced should I be as a writer to enroll in this course?

This course is intended for fiction writers who have either finished a manuscript draft or are close to finishing but are stuck on a plot point.

If you are brand new to writing character-driven fiction, Liar, Liar, Plot on Fire may give you insights into how to think about your story, but it won’t teach you how to write.

How is this different from using a GMC plotting method or a plot beats sheet?

The Liar, Liar plot diagnosis technique doesn’t teach you how to write the story. It helps you understand WHY you should write a SPECIFIC story. Plot beats and story milestones differ for every genre (and sometimes even within genres), but if you’re not sure you’re writing the right story, why invest time in mapping out the plot and deep-diving into writing the scenes?

Will the Plot Diagnosis Flowchart keep me from having to rewrite my story?

There’s never a guarantee that you won’t have to revise a scene, act, or even the entirety of your story, but knowing what the story is about, how it needs to end, and where it should start will give you much more confidence that you’re writing the right story.


And if you do need to revise, you can revisit the flowchart for each iteration of your story and really start honing in on the most important themes and scenes.

Can I view this course on my phone/tablet/laptop?

Yes! My entire site, including my online university, is designed to be responsive. So even if you're working through the lessons on a phone, you should have no problem seeing the videos and reading the text.

I have a different question.

I'd be happy to answer it. Email me at sue@suebrownmoore.com and we'll chat.

Ready to light your plot on fire?

(in the good way!)

Two people celebrating with fireworks
The full view of everything offered in Liar, Liar, Plot on Fire

3 payments of

$42.50

USD

Get this course for $69.5 off the usual $197

(This 35% discount will never happen again!)

  • Ongoing access (no renewal or membership)
  • Full 45-minute Plot Diagnosis technique video
  • 17+ Individual lessons for deeper learning
  • A downloadable, printable recap pdf 
  • 14-Day Refund offer (see below)
  • Unlocks access to book 1:1 Story Consults with me

*** Do not click "back" in your browser during the checkout flow below. You may be charged twice, and your instant course access will take a little longer to come through.***

It's okay if we're not a good match.

If you're on the fence about the course but want to give it a try, I do offer a 14-day refund. 

14-day refund policy: If it's not for you, email Sue (see conditions)

Here's how it works...

  1.  Try to work through the entire program (all the lessons) so you understand the full scope of the technique. 
  2.  Jot down notes about what confused you and what parts simply do not work for your writing. I'm going to need these details.
  3.  Email me within 14 days of when you purchased the enrollment (sue@suebrownmoore.com), with the information listed in the "14-Day Refund" section of the lesson "The legal stuff" (click to preview it here).

Yes, you do have to show your work. But your feedback helps me understand where I went wrong. So I need to understand your problem so I can either adjust my phrasing here on this sales page or clarify whatever is confusing in the course content itself.

But if you do give it a try and realize that my teaching style is just not a good fit for your learning style, that is totally okay! As long as you contact me within 14 days of your purchase and I can see that you tried to work through the lessons, I will refund your full purchase price. You will also lose access to any bonuses you received with your initial enrollment. Details about how to apply for a refund are in the course Terms & Conditions here and recapped in the Legal Stuff lesson here.

But straight up, if you don't write character-driven fiction, this course is isn't for you. 

This course is not for authors who...

write adventure or plot-driven stories.

If the action is the hero of the story, this technique may not benefit you much.

write NON-FICTION or Instructional. 

My technique assumes there is a growth arc for a hero character that you can control

aren’t willing to be emotionally vulnerable with their characters. 

If you only want to plot from a surface level emotionally, this technique may not be a good fit.

write VERY SHORT STORIES or STANDALONE VIGNETTES. 

If your story is so short that the heroes show zero emotional growth, this technique won't help you. 

TBD

Still thinking about it?

Here's what other students are saying...

The fine print (legal stuff)

Your success hinges on the effort, motivation, commitment, and follow-through you put into your own studies and work sessions. We can't predict or promise specific results for you from using anything taught in this course; everyone's journey is unique.

Your background, dedication, desire, motivation, actions, and various other factors contribute to your individual outcomes. By purchasing this course, you agree that you understand and accept that we promise no guarantees or specific outcomes from using the information provided on this website or product. 

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