Pros: Filled with suggestive ideas for creating a strong plot.
Cons: As the title implies, this book is limited to plotting only. If you’re interested in a broader perspective, or other writing topics you should read other books on writing.
Thoughts: This book has an expansive, straightforward list of suggestions for tackling plot in a way that is easy to understand. I especially liked the Lead, Objective, Confrontation, Knock-out (L.O.C.K.) system and the idea of transitions between acts of a story being ‘doorways’ as a simplified guideline for dramatic structure. This book simplifies and demystifies what is in some of the more elaborate books on the topic, such as Writer’s Journey by Chris Vogler or STORY by Robert McKee.
Summary: If you’re trying to keep it simple, this book might be better than some of the others.
Table of Contents:
INTRODUCTION: Putting the Big Lie to Sleep 1
CHAPTER ONE: What’s a Plot, Anyway? 6
CHAPTER TWO: Structure: What Holds Your Plot Together 22
CHAPTER THREE: How to Explode With Plot Ideas 35
CHAPTER FOUR: Beginning Strong 56
CHAPTER FIVE: Middles 79
CHAPTER SIX: Endings 99
CHAPTER SEVEN: Scenes 113
CHAPTER EIGHT: Complex Plots 130
CHAPTER NINE: The Character Arc in Plot 141
CHAPTER TEN: Plotting Systems 152
CHAPTER ELEVEN: Revising Your Plot 172
CHAPTER TWELVE: Plot Patterns 180
CHAPTER THIRTEEN: Common Plot Problems and Cures 194
CHAPTER FOURTEEN: Tips and Tools for Plot and Structure 206
APPENDIX A: Checklist: Critical Points 223
APPENDIX B: Creating Your Own Back Cover Copy 229