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The Plot Thickens: 8 Ways to Bring Fiction…

The Plot Thickens: 8 Ways to Bring Fiction to Life

by Noah Lukeman

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In this book, Lukeman's main premise is that writers whose plots are too thin (or non-existent) will find a solution in deeper characterization and, so, this book is mostly about characterization. Unlike "A Dash of style" and "The First Five Pages", "The Plot Thickens" feels very much like a book aimed at beginners - perhaps because very little of it will be new to anyone who has read other books on story craft but also because of its tone (which is subjective, I know). Nevertheless, anyone who struggles to create plot from initial ideas, or struggles to find ideas at all, will find it a wealth of inspiration. I'd also recommend this book to those scribes who believe that literary-means-not-having-to-plot, though I fear they would need to be strapped down and forced to read it (less so, though, than "The First Five Pages: A Writers' Guide to Staying Out of the Rejection Pile" the very title of which, unfortunately, is likely to make those who need it most run in the opposite direction.)

Note that the first 80 pages are devoted to characterization exercises.

( )
  Darcy-Conroy | Sep 28, 2015 |
What ages would I recommend it too? Twelve and up.

Length? A couple of days.

Characters? No.

Setting? Writing world.

Written approximately? 2003.

Does the story leave questions in the readers mind? Clarity.

Any issues the author (or a more recent publisher) should cover? Yes.

Short storyline: Covers plot points.

Notes for the reader: Multitudes of questions to help build characters to improve plot
lines. ( )
  AprilBrown | Feb 25, 2015 |
With an unusual approach to plotting, Lukeman uses a holistic, rather than a didactic, method. There is plenty of instruction and practical examples, as well as exercises, in the book, so it is a "teaching" book, but what Lukeman achieves is more than just teaching a reader "how to plot."

Although this book is mainly about plot, it's doesn't take a step-by-step approach to plotting. Rather, one gains a sense of how the elements of a novel are all connected and multi-layered. Characterisation drives plot; but plot deepens character.

Each chapter does deal with a specific element to strengthen plot, but ultimately what Lukeman conveys is that to achieve a work that goes beyond the norm - to write a transcendent book - one needs to understand that writing a novel is more than just technique.

The final chapter "Transcendency" reflects on what differentiates a great book from a good book and is a salutary lesson writing, not from the intellect, but from the soul. Lukeman says:"... it will entail putting yourself on the line ... passion is magnetic. Writing from a place of truth and love, you can never go wrong ...[there is] a difference between a writer who writes because he wants to and one who writes because he has to... the transcendent work is the work you know is the best you can offer."

As inspiring as Lukeman's [The First Five Pages: A Writer's Guide To Staying Out of the Rejection Pile] ( )
  JudyCroome | Sep 8, 2013 |
Lots of useful gems and thought exercises in here. ( )
  chaosmogony | Apr 27, 2013 |
Not your typical writing instruction book, The Plot Thickens helps writers to really think in-depth about their characters. It's full of exercises and questions that would be extremely helpful in the writing process. ( )
  melopher | Jun 1, 2010 |
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People are always asking me if the university stifles writers. I reply that it hasn't stifled enough of them. There's many a bestseller that could have been prevented by a good writing teacher. 
--Flannery O'Connor
At the risk of repeating myself, I dedicate this, my second book, to my mother. I never planned to write another book on writing, and set down some thoughts on plot for her sake alone. Her encouragement brought forth a chapter, and before I knew it, it was too late to turn back.
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The word "plot" can cause a great deal of trepidation in writers. This is chiefly because plot has become synonymous with having a "great idea," and the pressure to come up with such an idea can be stultifying.
Begin with an individual and you find that you have created a type; begin with a type and you find that you have created--nothing.
--F. Scott Fitzgerald

You may have been in a situation--perhaps in a government office--where you've been asked for your mother's social security number, your father's place of birth, and realized, in a horrific flash, that you don't really know the people you think you know best in the world.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312309287, Paperback)

As a literary agent, Noah Lukeman hears thousands of book pitches a year. Often the stories sound great in concept, but never live up to their potential on the page. Lukeman shows beginning and advanced writers how to implement the fundamentals of successful plot development, such as character building and heightened suspense and conflict. Writers will find it impossible to walk away from this invaluable guide---a veritable fiction-writing workshop---without boundless new ideas.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:23 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"As a literary agent, Noah Lukeman hears thousands of book pitches a year. Often the stories sound great in concept but never live up to their potential on the page. The Plot Thickens analyzes the classic elements of story-telling, showing beginning and advanced writers alike how to implement the fundamentals of successful plot development, such as character building and heightened suspense and conflict." "With a warm and conversational tone, Noah Lukeman offers writers innovative principles, techniques, and numerous thought-provoking exercises. His frequent references to book, film, and TV classics make for a lively and accessible read. Writers will find it impossible to walk away from this invaluable guide - a veritable fiction-writing workshop - without boundless new ideas."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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