Elements of Fiction Writing - Plot

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Writer's Digest Books, Jul 15, 1999 - Reference - 176 pages
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"There are ways to create, fix, steer and discover plots—ways which, over a writing life, you'd eventually puzzle out for yourself," writes Ansen Dibell. "They aren't laws. They're an array of choices, things to try, once you've put a name to the particular problem you're facing now."

That's what this book is about: identifying those choices (whose viewpoint? stop and explain now, or wait? how can this lead to that?), then learning what narrative problems they are apt to create and how to choose an effective strategy for solving them. The result? Strong, solid stories and novels that move.

Inside you'll discover how to:

  • test a story idea (using four simple questions) to see if it works
  • convince your reader that not only is something happening, but that something's going to happen and it all matters intensely
  • handle viewpoint shifts, flashbacks, and other radical jumps in your storyline weave plots with subplots
  • get ready for and write your Big Scenes
  • balance scene and summary narration to produce good pacing
  • handle the extremes of melodrama by "faking out" your readers—making them watch your right hand while your left hand is doing something sneaky
  • form subtle patterns with mirror characters and echoing incidents
  • choose the best type of ending—linear or circular, happy or downbeat, or (with caution!) a trick ending
Whether your fiction is short or long, subtle or direct, you'll learn to build strong plots that drive compelling, unforgettable stories your readers will love.

 

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Review: Plot (Elements of Fiction Writing)

User Review  - Megan - Goodreads

Eh. Some decent writing advice, but pretty dry. If a book on writing can't be entertaining as well as informative, I don't really think there's much use for it. Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

WHAT IS PLOT?
5
GRAND OPENINGS
19
WOULD YOU TRUST A VIEWPOINT WITH SHIFTY EYES?
30
SHUT UP HE EXPLAINEDHANDLING EXPOSITION
43
EARLY MIDDLES NEW DIRECTIONS AND SUBPLOTS
58
BUILDING THE BIG SCENES SETPIECES
69
HARNESSING MELODRAMA
81
PATTERNS MIRRORS AND ECHOES
94
PACING TRANSITIONS FLASHES AND FRAMES
111
WHEN YOU COME TO THE END STOP
120
BEYOND PLOT
144
INDEX
164
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