Plotto: The Master Book of All Plots

Plotto The Master Book of All Plots A classic how to manual William Wallace Cook s Plotto is one writer s personal method painstakingly diagrammed for the benefit of others The theory itself may be simple Purpose opposed by Obstacle y

  • Title: Plotto: The Master Book of All Plots
  • Author: William Wallace Cook
  • ISBN: 9781935639183
  • Page: 197
  • Format: Hardcover
  • A classic how to manual, William Wallace Cook s Plotto is one writer s personal method, painstakingly diagrammed for the benefit of others The theory itself may be simple Purpose opposed by Obstacle yields Conflict but Cook takes his Plottoist through hundreds of situations and scenarios, guiding the reader s hand as a dizzying array of purposes and obstacles come tA classic how to manual, William Wallace Cook s Plotto is one writer s personal method, painstakingly diagrammed for the benefit of others The theory itself may be simple Purpose opposed by Obstacle yields Conflict but Cook takes his Plottoist through hundreds of situations and scenarios, guiding the reader s hand as a dizzying array of purposes and obstacles come to a head Cook s method is broken down into three stages First, the master plot This four page chart distills the most basic plot points into a three line sentence Next, the conflict situation Each master plot leads the reader to a list of circumstances, distributed among 20 different conflict groups these range from Love s Beginning to Personal Limitations to Transgression There are over 2,000 unique conflict situations in the book, and each is cross referenced with designs for how the situation might have started, or where it might go Finally, there are character combinations Cook offers an extensive index of protagonists, each cross referenced with various supporting players themselves tied to various conflict situations, for what appears to be an inexhaustible reservoir of suggestions and inspiration.

    One thought on “Plotto: The Master Book of All Plots”

    1. NaNoWriMo 2012 - November 1.This isn't a review. It's November first, so that means it is the start of National Novel Writing Month. I've decided to take part again, but I had no pressing idea that I wanted to write about. So taking the gimmicky quality of writing a novel in one month I have decided to multiply the 'gimmick' by adding two additional gimmicks of my own. One, I'm going to share the entire novel as I'm writing it, but I'm going to do it in reviews. Obviously, these won't be reviews [...]

    2. Not really sure how to review this, but it was fascinating to study. I wonder how many of the plots hold up for modern writers of literary fiction, which belongs to the antihero rather than the hero. If you get a chance to read through it, go for it: it's fascinating.

    3. Frenzied "Tour de force" I think is the term for an undertaking such as this. I frequently browse through Plotto though I haven't felt the need yet to copy one of its schemes for a plot of my own. This is surprising given that I find plotting difficult and cumbersome's almost an affectation with me and, as I know, with other writers of "literary" fiction, too. Unfortunately, "literary" means all too often that the story doesn't meet John Gardner's brilliantly conceived criterion of story as a " [...]

    4. Wow, such an invaluable resource for writers of fiction. The book was first published in 1928 and, according to history, was used by storytellers as far back as Alfred Hitchcock. (You can see its influence in his dunks when you read this book, which was a fascinating plus!) I will say it helped to have an IT background, where I'm used to thinking in terms of codes and flowcharts, prior to paging through this book. It's very logic-based.For newer fiction writers, or even nonfiction writers whose [...]

    5. What if someone wrote out all the plot points for stories from 1 to 1462? What if they did it in 1928?Note: reviewers who say you need to know math to read this, haven’t actually read it. You don’t need math to read a number ffs. What you do need is logic and enough understanding of story to get when a plot suggestion won’t fit, or will break previous plot points. You can either cut it out, or amend it accordingly. For example if the situation is ‘dies while on the way to make a new will [...]

    6. My library had this on Overdrive. It's a pulp writer's book from 1928 of how to string plots together via flow charts. It's a bit like choose your own adventure for writersor like Polti's 36 Dramatic Situations on steroids. I thought it would be great fun, but it wasn't. The concepts are dated and the plot complications are highly dependent upon coincidence and accident, which is weak. Characters' choices/actions should cause plots to develop, not pianos falling from the sky or packages mis-deli [...]

    7. Excellent book, a classic to understand the gist of what goes into a plot. It helps if you have an understanding of math (algebra) but it's not completely necessary. I have read many books on the subject and this is pretty much the granddaddy of them all.My only complaint is that it is very difficult to understand, let alone to master. It definitely takes time. If you can download the pdf with the instructions on how to use it, all the better.Another book, Plots Unlimited, is pretty much a varia [...]

    8. Well I'm not sure how to review this. The plot points and situations are dated, though could be modified to suite modern sensibilities. It took a while to figure out the convoluted cross-referencing of tables—luckily, playing D&D in junior high paid off. If you're truly blocked, it might kick start some ideas. Whether or not they're good ideas will be up to you.The 'dust cover' is a thin strip of paper that is extremely unwieldy. If a designer thought they were being clever when they conce [...]

    9. I enjoy the concept presented by it. It reminds me of something else I read by Stephen King where the plots are determined by a spinner (similar to that used in the game Twister).However, it's still not something I'd use - and I gave that serious thought. On the other hand, it may come in handy sometime as a "writing prompt".I gave it four stars because I know others have found it useful, and I've seen the results of that use. Alfred Hitchcock used it, according to some reports. Who would I be t [...]

    10. This classic story structure how-to is, at the least, a fascinating insight into one prolific writer's creative process. Originality, Cook insists, is the aim of his method and so the "plot suggestions", which make up the majority of this book, are meant as prods to the imagination, rather than to be used literally. The complex notation is likely to seem too cold or calculating for many, but there can be no denying that Cook understands the importance of conflict in story and how to create it.

    11. I know it's around here somewhere, as I can recall seeing it, but have no idea where it might be at the moment. Apparently, it's been re-released by Tin House and old original copies are going for a pretty penny. Maybe I should make a serious effort at finding my copy (which was probably purchased by my paternal grandmother).

    12. An incredible amount of work went into this. Reading through it is like getting hit with every story ever written in a blur.As for the system itself, it's straightforward to understand if you go through the tutorial section at the end of the book.

    13. I LOVE THIS BOOK! It breaks down writing stories into a formula. A little from here, a little from there, and voila! I can't wait to get writing! Also fascinating to read because I recognize many books and film plot lines.

    14. Hahahaha! The preface of the book mentions that Cook was referred to as the man who deforested Canada. Because he churned out so many works of fiction.This is it, boys. This is the Owner's Manual to the Fiction Factory.

    15. A great reference that every fiction writer should own. You may not use it as intended, but you'll find your own way to fit it into your process.

    16. A valuable brainstorming resource. Would be better to have it in physical form instead of digital form, just for leafing through. A good idea-generating read.

    17. Found on anynewbooks/staff-picks/ Waiting to see if it shows up in any other reviews -- sounds interesting, but could easily be done in a bad way.

    18. This is an interesting book offers structured suggestions on how to outline a plot. It also provides exercises and examples.

    19. A great way to get your next creative writing project going. Also gets you through those plot stalls that have a tendency to wreak havoc.

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