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Showing 1-10 of 33 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 40 reviews
VINE VOICEon January 18, 2012
There has probably never been a better book on plots than Plotto written back before the crust of the earth hardened, but never done any better. A writer can find endless combinations of plot development, but this is far from easy. The manner of presentation requires full concentration and an aptitude for math is helpful. You will simply not pick up this book and come up with the plot for the next great American novel. However, if one is willing to study the method and understand the flow of development, it is a most valuable tool.
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on September 19, 2014
There's a good reason this book is called "The Master Book of All Plots". Upon receiving this, I flicked through the pages, scratched my head and left it on the shelf for four months. The sheer amount of numbers and codes was enough for my creative mind to explode. However. November and National Novel Writing Month is nearly upon us again and I have ideas, but I'm yet again stuck in a rut with plot sequencing. I have no idea how to get character A into sequence X to meet up with character B and round out my conflict situation. Cue Plotto.

A few days ago, I finally pulled it down off my bookshelf and really read over the introduction, the short biography of the author and the general how to of how the the book works. Huh, well, now I'm intrigued. I decide just for kicks, I'm going with a master plot. Three hours later, I have a leg covered in sticky tags, marker on my hands, and a strong desire to know what's next, what's next?!!?

Now, don't get me wrong, the book is rather archaic in some of it's wording (it's written in the twenties for crying out loud), BUT it's fully adaptable for modern writing. There's absolutely no reason you can't tweak it so you're writing the next big YA novel (god forbid). The numbers and symbols can also be a little mind bending at first, and I'm sure the reference pages are a little worn, but you really do have to be persistent with learning the ways of the pages. It's nothing I won't work for though. I mean, I grew up in the age of the card catalogues and microfiches. You can certainly learn this stuff with no problem. I really enjoy it. It's like someone else mentioned with those choose your own adventure books. So fun and rewarding, when you get to see what happens to your characters!

This is SUCH a great reference book to have on hand for any aspiring writer. Definitely pick it up, you won't regret it!
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on February 1, 2014
If you want to know how Alfred Hitchcock or the author of Perry Mason came up with those great stories... this is what they used.

This is a very complex, geeky book. Some of the suggested story lines are amazingly dated, especially regarding the roles of women.

However, if you need to weave a unique, complex plot and do it efficiently... this is probably the book you want. Don't waste your time with the Kindle version. You need the printed edition -- and possibly a bunch of post-it type notes -- to weave your way through the hundreds (thousands? tens of thousands?) of options.

I consider it a must-own book for prolific novelists.

It's almost certain to overwhelm most beginners, so if you're new to writing, put this on your wishlist for later.

It's also designed for people accustomed to working with mindmaps and LOTS of data. If you're just not a researcher, this book could be a snooze. Stick to simpler plotting guides and dice.

However, if you want to write a complex story, or build a multi-generational series of books... this is the plotting guide you need.
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on March 14, 2013
To just read this book is not enough you have to use it and study it to get the most out of it. This book will not write your stories for you. It will help you brainstorm for the ideas you find most useful to your story and from their you can develop them further to make them stand out. It is interesting to note that famous movie directors like Alfred Hitchcock used this book to help him craft some very memorable movies.I really like the array of possibilities you can have for your story threads and this book helps you explore those threads to see if you can use them to help create your story. Some of the different senarios presented need to be updated to modern times, but you will know from your own expereince what they should be and can compensate for them. The book offers the reader who likes to create stories a way to have some fun changing the way their story would develop and play out. I like to use the ideas presented to help me think up new ideas and even reverse the ones presented and see how the story would flow. If you like to create and try different ideas this book may help you do just that for your story ideas.
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on October 28, 2014
The master book of all plots? I'm pretty sure I can think of one (or maybe 100) that aren't in here, but I'll blame it on the ancient original date of publication.

Is this book a masterful collection of lots of standard plots? Hell yes.

Is this book great to have handy when you're stuck for an idea? Definitely.

Will this book help you pen your latest masterpiece? Maybe.

Will this book help you write a "plot a day" tweet on Twitter? Surely!

Example plot:

"1266: A's enemy, A-3, is a connoisseur of wines. A, by working on A-3's pride as a connoisseur of wines, lures him into a wine vault where he is faced with death." Why, that's classic Poe -- "The Cask of Amontillado"!

Though I found the coding system a bit odd (why "A" for a male protagonist and "B" for a female, instead of "M" and "F"?), I enjoyed the way Cook boiled down all plots to a logical syllogism. If you want to completely categorize all possible plots, I'm sure that time and technology will eventually produce others not listed here, but it sure is fun trying to figure out which sub-plot they might fit into.

Highly recommended as a source of entertainment at literati parties, if not a daily reference manual.
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on July 11, 2017
This is a fun book if for narrative nerds, but it's also fun just to see how relationships are structured in stories. I'd say it's a go-to for writer's block. It's not so much a how-to as it is a reference book.
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on June 2, 2017
This book gives me a headache because its author was a genius and I'm not. It's the real deal. I love reading books on writing by prolific authors.
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on June 17, 2013
I was apprehensive about this purchase, but in the end I'm glad I made it. Buyer beware, this book is NOT a quick fix for your flagging manuscript, nor is it just a catalog of plots from which one can pick and choose. This book will NOT write your novel, but it will make writing it much easier if it's used right.

This is a great buy for the disorganized writer, the writer with mounds of ideas but no earthly idea how to sort them into coherence.
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on January 20, 2014
I can really see the use of this book in teaching analysis of narrative. It would be great in literature courses to get discussions raging around a template. I can also see the use of it in the preparation to write. Although it's motifs are a bit old for writing a good contemporary novel, they would hold up very well where movies are concerned, in cinematic appreciation and in their creation. Most movies are still operating at this level.
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on February 14, 2015
I bought this two years ago and was intimidated when I opened the book. It is very complicated! My original review said "Good for its day, but does not meet the needs of the genre fiction author." Well, today I actually read the instructions, and lo and behold, yes it does address genres. I'll write more if and after I manage to make it work, but I am encouraged by what I've learned so far, actually being patient and reading how to use the book. It is not for impatient people like me, but I am trying.
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