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Plot by Ansen Dibell
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The author, for some unknown reason, uses a pseudonym. She claims to have written the “internationally published” five-book science fiction series The Rule of One. But that fiction series doesn’t exist, at least not on a public or international scale, so kudos to Dibell for thus keeping the forensic loop closed on her pseudonym. But wait -- let’s check the internet. Turns out Dibell is in fact Nancy Ann Dibble, American Sci-fi-wri-(ter). She’s dead now, but must have been something of a Star Wars nut back in the day: Plot is shot through w/ The Empire Strikes Back references. So there you go. But the point, here, is that the title of Dibell’s supposed sci-fi series The Rule of One is actually a clever tipping of the hat to Star Wars fans, a discreet index finger placed on the side of the nose, as it were, a pointed glance, if you will, to those in the “know.” The phrase, “Rule of One,” apparently refers the Sith (q.v., Dark Lords of the) principle of absolute obedience to an autonomous overlord. And it is exactly this notion of dark, deep, secret connection -- of plot -- that Plot so effectively limns. Dibell is good company; she’s not a bore. Her book’s parting words are good-humored and direct: “Now, quit reading. Go write.” ( )
  evamat72 | Mar 31, 2016 |
Even if you don't follow every rule in this book, if you're a writer you have to read it. ( )
  Joel.G..Gomes | Apr 17, 2014 |
An editor once told me that if you're going to take advice on writing, take it either from name-bestselling writers or gatekeepers such as acquiring editors or agents--not necessarily anyone who writes for Writer's Digest or has taught a writing class. Dibell doesn't quality as a "name" writer, but I do like the Elements of Fiction Writing series Writer's Digest puts out--and plotting is one of my weaknesses. This is more about fixing plots then generating them. Dibell obviously agrees with Stephen King that plots are "found things" and that can be messy as your muse takes you in directions you didn't plan. Dibell writes:

You can make outlines and try to lock out that change. But you know, and I know, that writing is as much a process of discovery as it is one of invention, and the more serious you are about your writing and the more complex the story you're trying to tell, the more likely it is to start creating itself in unexpected ways.

I'd say that's not only true in my experience, but I that often the parts that are most alive, the most fun, are what comes to shape spontaneously--but at times it does mean you can write yourself into a corner, and I appreciate Dibell's suggestions about how to control the process a bit and avoid some blind alleys. ( )
  LisaMaria_C | Sep 9, 2013 |
A very practical guide to plot development for fiction, especially useful is the list of pitfalls to avoid. The author does not believe that creating detailed outlines from the start is as effective as just jumping in and planning as you go (except for major elements like beginning and end, theme, etc.). I disagree with that as a matter of taste, but still see the great value of this book and intend to use it often. ( )
1 vote openset | Jan 12, 2008 |
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