Customer Reviews for

The Plot Thickens: 8 Ways to Bring Fiction to Life

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  • Posted May 16, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Character-driven plots

    Mysteries, suspense, action/adventure genres rely heavily on plot--the idea--to move the story along. In his book, "The Plot Thickens," Noah Lukeman alerts the reader to another facet of fiction writing, the character-driven plot. The author details how to craft a dynamite story with life-like characters with whom readers can identify, or at least recognize. He shows novice and experienced writers alike how to build story using all the elements of writing. Through the use of examples, he leads the reader/writer through development of exquisite characterization, place, journey, and conflict. The book is an easy read and would have been a fast one were it not that I found myself stopping, bookmarking a page, and excitedly going back into all of my works-in-progress to incorporate his editorial insights.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 13, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Lukeman brings it.

    He makes it seem so simple and entertaining. He is one of my favorite authors on the art of writing.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2003

    If you are serious about writing, this book is a necessity

    Lukeman knows his stuff! I'd buy this book 10 times over!!! Toss any other book on the subject in the trash!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2002

    Far more than a writer's tool¿.

    How does a writer turn an idea into a plot? How many brilliant flashes of inspiration lead to books, movies, or plays? Not many because ideas wither away without great characters and events that drive the story forward. He uses many examples from film because this is the media where life is visualized for the audience, and his "chief concern is illustrating (sometimes abstract) points." (Lukeman) An example: * A young man is unhappy and feels trapped in his rural life. * He hungers for adventure. * He is inducted into thrilling adventures by chance. * He is part of a mystical adventure, for which he is unprepared. * Circumstances force him to face his inadequacies. * He gains friends and companions along the way. * Ultimately he finds the confidence he needs to succeed. * He saves the realm. The ideas belongs to many stories from Lord of the Rings to Harry Potter to Star Wars, and more. The magic of each story is wrapped into the characters and the lives they live; they are real. Each chapter and the introduction are deeper than I can show in a review. The book should be on every writer's desk. Both chapters one (Characterization: The Outer Life) and two (Characterization: The Inner Life) are 90% questions. By taking time to write the questions and answer them, they become part of a writer's arsenal. Chapter Three -- Applied Characterization discusses whether the character is major or minor, the frequency s/he appears, entrances and exits, and more. "Plot does not magically appear with the creation of a character; Frankenstein's monster might open his eyes, but until he gets up from the table and does something, there is little basis for a plot." (NL) Chapter Four -- The Journey takes us on an emotional or mental experience (not necessarily a trip) that brings about change. Simple and familiar examples are Star Wars, Saving Private Ryan, The Bourne Identity, Speed, Cujo, Carrie, etc. Chapter Five -- Suspense, "more than any other element, affects the immediate, short-term experience of the work." (NL) What is the destination, why is it significant, and what obstacles stand in the way? Chapter Six -- Conflict causes changes; they can be obvious (court, sports, or battle scenes, etc.) or subtle. No matter what the conflict is, it must exist on multiple levels because people, therefore characters, are complex. Chapter Seven -- Context "influences suspense, conflict, pacing, progression, and ultimately meaning." (NL) A writer or editor must keep the entire work in mind, and gauge the overall impression of each element in the creation of the story -- does it work? Chapter Eight -- Transcendency taps "¿ into the universal, timeless truths and facets of the human condition." (NL) The examples are clear and powerful. The book is profound and all of Noah Lukeman's books should be required reading.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 18, 2005

    Pretty bad

    I tried to take the book seriously and answer all those horrible, tedious questions about my character. I spent some boring hours that did not help my writing much. No, no. This is no way to approach writing a book. Some of the questions are good, however, and may help a writer enrich a novel.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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