- Hardcover: 350 pages
- Publisher: Tin House Books; 1 edition (December 13, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1935639188
- ISBN-13: 978-1935639183
- Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.7 x 1.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #905,301 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Plotto: The Master Book of All Plots 1st Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Plotto is an unusual book that takes some practice to use well. Like everyone else, I dove into it with high hopes and a blank mind and hoped it would write my story for me. That's not how it works. As everyone who has ever dealt with plot knows, a bare statement of plot always sounds boring, and someone else's plot idea always has something wrong with it. Plotto is there to help spark ideas, but you still have to provide the heavy lifting yourself.
More than anything, Plotto reminds me of Roget's Thesaurus in its standard form, which takes a while to learn how to use. Most people never bother, and rely instead on the relatively useless "dictionary form" version. You have to take the time to learn the tool. This is aided if you can lay your hands on Cook's 32-page Plotto instruction booklet, which is more detailed than the instructions in the book itself.
That said, it's a pretty spiffy tool! The book consists largely of numbered paragraphs giving "conflict situations" that describe a predicament and what the viewpoint character does about it, and what the result is. Each of these situations has references to other situations that might work out to elaborate or complete the plot. One group of references points forward in time, the other backwards (giving you backstory).
There are two major entry points into the conflict situations. One is indexed by a general description of the nature of the viewpoint character, the conflict, and the type of resolution, and the other is by the relationship between the major characters.Read more ›
I have been endlessly looking for a book that can fill that gap between writing prompt and writing tool... and Plotto is brilliant and effortless. This should be required in any college media or writing class. There is something to be gained no matter what genre you are attacking...it can put bones in the story you are already building... or give you the skeleton to hang your thoughts on. The point of Plotto isn't that it's so much telling you "how to write" but rather assuming you can and working with you to achieve a mutual goal of completion.
Professors, writers, aspiring writers, and film fans... this book is old, but it's so relevant to all we do-- it should be a vital part of our libraries.
Why the one less star? The book's mechanics of navigation are a little convoluted... they aren't impossible to master... but that's just it, you have to master it to use the book fully. It's a fully coded system-- which has it's bonuses and setbacks.
Do yourself a favor and get this book... this book needs to be shared and gifted and spread!
I can see the basics: A (male protagonist) + B (female protagonist) + C (Conflict) = plot. The A's and B's are then given numbers (A-5 = male criminal, for example). But once all the other numbers and symbols come in, it becomes a pain to try and piece it all together, flipping back and forth between sections.
Here's an example of what just part of a Plotto formula looks like:
(15) Finding A Sustaining Power In Misfortune
(a) (245 ch A to B & A-3 to B-3) (305)
B, a white woman, contemplates suicide when a mystery of her birth and parentage apparently yield an evil secret * A, B's loyal lover, working in secret, secures proof of B's unsullied lineage (1051) (1052-*); and they marry ** (431) (437)
Argh! Does this sound like an easy or fun way to plot your next story? If you are extremely patient, you might be able to figure this gobbledygook out. For me, and I imagine most of the people who buy it, Plotto becomes an exercise in frustration more interesting as a curio of the past than a helpful or relevant reference work. I'm not saying it's completely worthless, but it is hard work, and more than I want to put it in.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Don't buy this damn book unless you have telescopic eyes, The font must be 2, and print looks like ants running around.Published 2 months ago by Lloyd Duncan
Recommended in a fiction writing class we took recently, this is a powerful book for generating plot ideas and give you a creative bump.Published 4 months ago by John V. Hedtke
Absolutely the bible to every writer. It is like a bag with a million seeds, all to become a great story. I totally recommend it! Read morePublished 17 months ago by andrea