Building Better Plots by Robert Kernen

Pros: Solid system for plotting and outlining.

Cons: If you’ve read most of the other books on writing, this may not teach you anything new.

Thoughts: Author’s system involves breaking the story into scenes, and putting each scene on its own 3×5 note card. I could have benefitted from reading this when I first got into writing. The 3×5 notecard plotting system is fairly well-known. The 3×5 note card method works fine, but the author seems oblivious to the wide array of software available for this kind of thing, such as mindmapping tools, etc. The plot archetypes, such as ‘Revenge’ or ‘Betrayal,’ and many others, are interesting.

Summary: Offers a great system for new writers, or writers new to plotting.

 

Table of Contents:

Introduction 1

SECTION ONE
The Building Materials of Plot 4

CHAPTER 1
The Narrative 5

CHAPTER 2
Plot Structure 14

CHAPTER 3
Inciting Incident 38

CHAPTER 4
Rising Action 46

CHAPTER 5
The Climax and Resolution 78

SECTION TWO
Building The Plot 94

CHAPTER 6
Using Plot Archetypes 95

CHAPTER 7
Creating Characters and Back Story 119

CHAPTER 8
Constructing An Outline 136

CHAPTER 9
Subplots 158

CHAPTER 10
Deepening the Story’s Resonance 178

CHAPTER 11
Tutorial 209

GLOSSARY 228
INDEX 235

 

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