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on October 26, 2012
I'm not sure whether it is cultural indoctrination or basic human wiring, but I do recognize that I as a movie viewer tune in to certain patterns in a story that make it fulfilling and believable. The most compelling movies are those that work within the frameworks I know, the story structure and character interactions that I expect on some level. Movies that leave me wondering "what the heck" are those that stray far from these structures.

"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.
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on April 6, 2014
This book offers invaluable advice to any reader or writer on how to analyze or craft a story. Tobias offers excellent examples from film and literature. I personally would have preferred more examples from literature, however, movies probably provide a more common ground of knowledge for a wide reading audience. The summaries at the end of each chapter provide a quick guide for a reader or writer to go back to as a reference. This book will definitely be one of my most valuable references in the future. I recommended for all students of literature.
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on June 8, 2017
I haven't finished it yet, but this book has already shown me several things I need to fix in my work-in-progress novel. Well written and well worth the price!
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on July 3, 2016
I found this book sort of embarrassingly useful. I mean, I feel like I should have understood all this, already. But, I did not, and so, this book was quite helpful to me. I don't think, (nor I suspect would it's author claim), that is the be-all-end-all book on plots, but covers enough of them, and offers plenty examples of the types the author illuminates, to get a working understanding of them.

One could take issue with the categories, and which stories fit in exactly which category, but that's all beside the point. The point is that Mr. Tobias illustrates a number of different types of plot, and cites examples of each, and if one disagrees, well, it hardly detracts from Tobias's point, at all. The reader is clearly entitled to their own opinion.

It seems a very practical how-to book for writers. If the story you're writing fits into one of his categories, see to it hat you hit the check boxes on his lists for each type, and you'll have a recognizable plot, that is, a plot your readers will recognize. That's worth something.
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on May 10, 2013
Although I may not agree that there are ONLY 20 Master Plots, you'd be surprised as to how many stories use one of, if not a combination of these plots.

The truth is, your story may be applicable to a few plots; that's the genius of it. It allows you to see some really cool ways if telling it. There's always more than one. You may even find a few plots in there that you would have never thought of using but, after reading its dedicated chapter, find yourself curious enough to explore......

Chase your intuition. As a said before, it's a good supplement, certainly worth it's price.
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on June 24, 2013
It sounds simplistic: 20 Master Plots. But this is an inspiring book. Not only does it break plot types down into manageable general concepts, but it goes twice as far as the 10 "story types" taught at USC. These are not discussions of genre, which are not very useful to serious writers, but story types that focus on the kinds of opposition and motivation you want to build your stories around. Since most good writers work from the basics out, this is an extremely handy little book to help you make that leap from concept to the beginnings of outline. I learned about it from Hal Croasmun, the genius who runs ScreenwritingU.
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on February 6, 2014
I would highly recommend this book looking to better understand, categorize and improve their own work. This work is thorough, but also moves along quickly and holds your interest straight through. Even if you are writing a novel that fits nicely the description of one plot type, you can clearly see the ways in which elements from other plots could be incorporated and it gives you a great synopsis of the elements that have made these plot patterns evolve into staples of fiction.
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on May 19, 2013
This book is excellent. I was able to see a few snip-its of pages through the Amazon website. This feature was extremely helpful to determine if this book is for me. Now that I have been able to absorb major areas of content, I'm even more excited to use some of the techniques and plot out a complex novel I'm working on. This is an excellent tool for any writer whether they are just beginning writers, intermediate writers, or experienced writers who need a guide or refresher on plot patterns by analyzing master plot types.
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on July 4, 2016
This book is very inspiring for anyone interested in writing stories or books or anything! Each chapter is exciting to read and makes you think more clearly on your own concepts. I found myself thinking in a new perspective with this book and believe that I truly refined my work. I would definitely recommend.
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on May 5, 2015
I really liked this book. I was kind of stuck and it helped me a lot. There's nothing really new, it contains things we aspiring writers have heard before, but when I was reading it I discovered many things I needed and wanted in my story. I do recommend it, it's useful!
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