20 Master Plots: And How to Build Them 3rd Edition, Kindle Edition
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That's kind of amazing.
I disagree with the few criticisms I've read. I didn't think it was particularly repetitive. And if it was repetitive here and there, I didn't think it was a problem. I read each chapter twice anyway; I mean, it's a workbook, not a quick read. I wrote a complete story for each plot type. I also didn't think the author was condescending regarding popular fiction. He seemed to find more value in literary fiction <yawn> than I do, but hey, maybe his insights will make literary fiction less boring if I ever read any again. Seriously, even if you're not a writer, this book is worthwhile for the way it'll help you better appreciate your reading.
I'll admit, I was disappointed that the book didn't give me a cookie cutter formula that I could create a book around. Instead, the author taught me how to analyze and understand plots and create my own. It's like a parable: A woman buys something on Amazon seeking one foolish impossible thing and ends up with something so much more valuable than she imagined. She went to Amazon not even knowing what she lacked; then she bought this book that helped her understand what she needed and then helped her achieve it on her own.
This is an absolute standout book. Probably one of the most significant books I'll read in my life. The NEXT time I get on the NYT bestsellers list (hehe, I'm not being facetious, I took one of the pictures in How to Take Over Teh Wurld: A LOLcat Guide 2 Winning 'wuz awsome. srsly!) I'm gonna track down this author and send him a present!
I wanted to add that in May I wrote one story for each of the 20 plots as an exercise. In July I finally got around to sending out some submissions. Now it's the beginning of August and I've been published twice on the Internet and four more stories are scheduled to be published. Plus, one of my stories was purchased by two different anthologies. Thank you, Mr. Tobias! [...]
"20 Master Plots" is a must-read guideline for not only the most compelling plot structures but also for other advice that will help refine the writer's craft. I have ordered several extra copies of this book to give to other aspiring writers. I believe that when you review your favorite movies in light of this book's content, you'll have an "ah ha!" moment.
Having said that, this book isn't terribly well structured. Large swaths of it proved boring, repetitive, and even worse for a book I might've wanted to use as a reference book, unstructured: sometimes chapters will be segmented with headers ("Act One" "Act Two" "Act Three" "Checklist"), frequently they will not, and it will just be a long ramble.
It's probably the result of a brilliant plot-writer but merely adequate essay-writer writing a book. And the end product is a book that, if you want to know more about plot writing, you SHOULD read, but you should also be prepared to slog through.