- Paperback: 200 pages
- Publisher: Illusion Press; 1 edition (January 1, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1877809195
- ISBN-13: 978-1877809194
- Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 0.8 x 8.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 40 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #366,932 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Blockbuster Plots: Pure & Simple 1st Edition
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"Few writers teachers understand the subtleties of plot as deeply, or can explain them as clearly. A must have." -- Frank Baldwin, author of Balling the Jack and Jake& Mimi
"This book will change your approach to writing! If you only buy one writing book this year, buy BLOCKBUSTER PLOTS!" -- Melanie Rigney, former Writers Digest Magazine editor. May, 2004
A good-looking, important book for writers. -- Literary Agent, Kimberely Cameron 7/15/05
Any writer seeking to produce not just acceptable but superior works must have this guide. -- Midwest Book Review 10/1/05
If you only buy one writing book this year, buy BLOCKBUSTER PLOTS! -- Writer's Digest Magazine editor Melanie Rigney 5/1/04
The appendices alone are worth the price of the book! -- Alderson-Broaddus Colleges Division of Humanities, Barbara Smith 6/1/05
The unique Scene Tracker and Plot Planner system is guaranteed to help writers master this elusive craft. -- McGraw-Hill 9/1/05
From the Publisher
An exciting new approach to understanding plot from writing expert, Martha Alderson, M.A., the unique Scene Tracker and Plot Planner system is guaranteed to help writers master this elusive craft. About the Book For most writers, the most difficult part of the writing process is the inability to see the forest for the trees. Blockbuster Plots dedicates itself to the structure of plot and has already helped hundreds of novelists, memoirists, and creative non-fiction writers master this elusive craft. Written by an educational expert and award-winning novelist, Blockbuster Plots offers writers a firm understanding of scene, and presents techniques that will help them develop a winning storyline. Introducing two innovative toolsthe Scene Tracker and Plot Plannerthe author shows writers how to create a visual representation of the layers of their story and consequently see whats missing, and anticipate their characters every move, so that the dramatic action doesnt peter off into the seductive wiles of detail. By effectively demonstrating the relationship between plot and scene and explaining the art of story design, Blockbuster Plots offers writers proven techniques for creating more focused and balanced plotlines.
Features Unique in the marketplace: no other fiction writing guide offers tools like the Scene Tracker and Plot Planner.
Top customer reviews
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On Plot Planner, the only thing I found helpful was connecting individual scenes together above & below the plot planner to make a line if only each consecutive scene can be connected thru cause and effect. If not, then again, those scenes need to be reevaluated or discarded. For bringing that "Aha" into light, I give the book another star.
However, the book notes under the PLOT PLANNER section on how to plot THEME and EMOTIONAL Development. The author only records those aspects under scene tracker. SHE DOES NOT track it under the PLOT PLANNER. Unless I failed to understand her diagrams; theme and emotional development are not tracked on the PLOT PLANNER. She refers back to her SCENE TRACKER for those 2 aspects. So in essence, it is not the PLOT PLANNER that is tracking them but Scene tracker. I guess that would be fine with THEME, as you can make a connection with all the Theme points for each scene and come out with an overall sense of what the theme is or what scenes support the theme. But I fail to understand how the Emotional Change in each scene can demonstrate the protagonist's character arc or journey of emotional changes on the whole through the scene tracker (although it works for each individual scene). But the author's premise is that it is tied into the PLOT PLANNER and I didn't see where she connected those aspects into that tool.
What is recorded under PLOT PLANNER is just a visual of individual scenes divided by the beginning, middle, and end sections of the story. All in all, still a valuable tool, but I already had some knowledge of this.
However, throughout the book, the author spreads out tidbits of basic information on plot and the such which is helpful for the novice which I would have liked if she had delve into more detail. She tickled my palette for more knowledge.
I guess the supposed beauty of the book lies in it's simplicity. However, she gets off tangent in several areas (saying that she has gotten ahead of herself) and if you seek clarification of what she is talking about she refers to you to her DVD or website or she just barely touches the surface on it. In fact, almost every other page, along the side bars, her DVD is mentioned. The book at times seems like a disguise for marketing her DVD. I understand that authors need to self promote, but the amount of self promotion in this book became distracting. Perhaps just putting a footer on each alternate page with her website address would have been more appropriate than on the sidebars.
In addition, she left alot of white space on the sidebars which could have been utilized more efficiently to dispell more information.
If anyone has seen her dvds, please post a review and let me know how you liked it. I'm tempted to buy one, hoping that she does go in deeper with her tools. I think she made a very good attempt to what she was trying to accomplish when she started the book with the SCENE TRACKER (EXCELLENT tool that can be really tailored to suit your needs and she does emphasize that). But once she got into the PLOT PLANNER, I think she needs to clarify it a bit more and make the examples at the appendix more coherent in the sections of theme and emotional development.
Overall, its a good book to have for a reference. The scene tracker is excellent and having more developed examples of the plot planner with more detailed explanations would have been golden.
Her website and Blog has a wealth of information that is basically a reiteration of about 1/3 of her book.
I have emailed her requesting clarification on some of the above and will update my review according to her response.
***********UPDATE - October 12th***********
Martha Responded to me on her Blog! She explained how the Character's Emotional Development & Theme can be tracked through the plot planner. It was so simple that I simply overlooked it. Along with her website, her book delivers! It is great to see an author who supports what they have written in such expedited fashion. If Amazon would give me the ability, I would upgrade my rating from 3 to 4 stars. Not 5 you may ask? Well, the self promotion needs to be cut a bit (lol) and it would be more helpful to have color examples of her tools to see how she tracks the different aspects of plot, and for her to expand a bit more on what she delves in the book (like how she does on her site). There's just so much good stuff in her book, but she doesn't go into it as deeply as I would have liked. But overall, I am very pleased. Any further explanation you might need, you can find on her site and blog. Her tools are excellent. I highly recommend.
2 other books that I would also recommend to supplement with the Plot Planner is Dara Mark's "Inside Story: Power of the Transformational Arc". Also, a great book on Endings which also gives an overview to story structure is Drew Yanno's "The 3RD Act". It is simple and to the point and the 30 question checklist at the end of the book makes it a good investment!
The author does pitch some products here and there (and who doesn't these days), but that aside, they do have a support site that adds a greater value to the book. I own many writing and literary research books, and this is one that focuses primarily on the art of plotting, and it does so extremely well. My advise after authoring since 1975, to newer authors, authors who are stuck and even established authors, is this is a tool that can only help. Since I find there is never enough writing books, I highly recommend this as you will never know some time if you are stuck in your literary endeavors, that a chapter might help you out, and that is certainly much cheaper than hiring outside help or worst yet, doing nothing!
There are many other books on writing that go much deeper into the development of the novel and various aspects of plotting. But this book does a very good job of simplifying that process. I think it makes a great methodology for a beginning writer or for one that is hopelessly lost in organizing his or her plot. If applied, a prospective author should be able to turn out a conventional novel.
Upon reflection I first thought that the book didn't warrant a 4 star because it lacked depth, but then I concluded that the simplicity of the plot framework is probably more than most authors use, and thus would be a great help to authors.
I was pleased to see that the author had a web site that supported the book. However, mid-way through the book I had already read too many promotional messages about buying things at the web site. Also, the book had so much white space that it looked like the author was stretching to meet a page count with a small manuscript.
Overall, I liked the book, will use it, and recommend it to others. Critics might call it "simplistic," satisfied readers would call it "essential plot rules, easy to apply."