20 Master Plots

And How to Build Them
Narrated by: Barry Abrams
Length: 9 hrs and 20 mins
4.4 out of 5 stars (15 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Give your story a solid foundation - a plot that engages readers from start to finish!

The best stories linger in the hearts and minds of readers for decades. These tales gain their power through plots that connect with the audience on both an emotional and intellectual level.

Ronald B. Tobias details these 20 time-tested plots. Each is discussed and analyzed, illustrating how a successful plot integrates all the elements of a story. Tobias then reveals how to use these plots effectively in your own work.

Tobias then goes to the next level, describing how to choose and develop plot in fiction. He reveals how to craft plot for any subject matter so that you develop your work evenly and effectively. As a result, your fiction will be more cohesive and convincing, making your story unforgettable for readers everywhere.

©1993 Ronald B. Tobias (P)2019 Tantor

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Some Good Ideas

I liked this book overall, and found it had some useful ideas for someone feeling stuck on plotting issues. The book does indeed showcase over 20 "master plots" and describe the major characteristics of each, along with some specific guidance about how to write each (using a basic three-act structure). I found some of the general advice that worked its way through from introduction to conclusion to be particularly useful. Thinking of plot in terms of cause and effect, the rule of three, and the interconnectedness of character and plot... My two major reservations about this book are 1.) that it was written in 1993. I knew this when I picked it up, and made some big allowances for this fact. In theory, the core idea is that these plots are timeless, so the fact that this is several decades old shouldn't matter. Yet those writing genre fiction (as oppose to works of great literary value) may not recognize modern conventions in some of what he said. I'd look to genre-specific texts for romance and mystery and science fiction and fantasy. Of bigger concern than the publication date of this book was the publication date of most of the examples given. The author relied far too heavily on Shakespeare and ancient Greek works and classic literature of all stripes. Most 20th century examples came from the movies, not from books, and from early to mid-twentieth century productions at that. He offered enough explanation of most of his examples to help you understand them even if you hadn't read (or watched) the source material, but especially as I read through the final 5 master plots, I grew increasingly frustrated with my inability to truly connect with his source material. These last 5 plots, it's worth noting, dealt with deep internal character struggles that were harder to exemplify to anyone who had not read the original material. I read books on writing mostly for inspiration. I picked this one up after I made some massive mistakes with a novel plot. This book helped me see where I went wrong and for that, it was well worth the read!

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exactly what I wanted

it was amazing! it went over 20 plots just like it said and the examples were entertaining enough to keep you interested so it didn't feel like a textbook or something. couldn't recommend it more.