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Steal This Plot: A Writer's Guide to Story Structure and Plagiarism

3.7 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0839778806
ISBN-10: 0839778805
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 214 pages
  • Publisher: Paul S. Eriksson (June 1, 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0839778805
  • ISBN-13: 978-0839778806
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,048,798 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Steal this plot isn't about stealing, its about borrowing ideas from popular fiction to create new stories. This is an older book, with an unremarkable cover that you can probably find only used, but its well worth tracking down if you can find a copy. I like the authors' breakdown of primary plot line and story 'spicer's (an interesting concept I think I will want to use), and the examples the authors give are well written and interesting. On the flipside, I didn't think each motivation needed to be quite so thoroughly explained as motivational forces such as "self-sacrifice" should be well understood by the average reader.

In particular, I liked the examples the authors gave on how to incorporate Greek/Roman myth into modern writing.

5 stars. Well worth picking up, some aspects a little pedantic, overall good.
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Format: Paperback
if necessary, but get it onto your shelf of writers' indispensable books. The authors identify the 13 basic story patterns--Vengeance, Catastrophe, Love and Hate, the Chase, Grief and Loss, Rebellion, Betrayal, Persecution, Self-Sacrifice, etc., and draw upon classic examples to illustrate the obligatory beats to each story pattern. First, this will help you identify which pattern your story draws from; then, it will remind you of what you've forgotten--that's making your version of the story not work. Remember T. S. Eliot's comment: "Immature poets borrow. Mature poets steal." Yes, the Nobles also deal with the issue of "plagiarism," but that's NOT the focus of this excellent book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really found this book to be more about story structure than plagiarism, though there was coverage there as well. I am a writer, and thought I knew about all there was about constructing a story. This book gave me some new ideas, as well as spelling out what the main plot motivations and story spicers to use. And I learned much about copywriting and plagiarism, what you can and can't get way with. I recommend this book to any writer who wants to learn the nuts and bolts beneath a story, as well as how to protect yourself and not get into unnecessary trouble.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really don't understand why this book is so well known. Maybe it's the title. There are better guides to plot structure -- I think this book is actually very light on particulars. It doesn't even particularly help you with plot analysis, though it does provide some examples of how to read another book and pull out the plot.

The writing isn't very engaging, either. Overall mediocre.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I thought this book would be about how to adapt existing plots to one's own needs. Not so. It's an extended list of the basic motivators that can move a story's action, plus a rehash of well-known plots. I really don't need a detailed synopsis of Moby-Dick. Read the book, saw the movie. This is an articulate book that never quite gets to the point.
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