20 Master Plots and How to Build Them

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This book shows the reader how to take timeless storytelling structures and make them immediate, now, for fiction that's universal in how it speaks to the reader's heart and contemporary in detail and impact.

Each chapter includes brief excerpts and descriptions of fiction from many times, many genres - myth and fairy tale, genre and mainstream fiction, film plots of all types, short story and novel.

Find 20 fundamental plots that recur through...

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20 Master Plots and How to Build Them

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Overview

This book shows the reader how to take timeless storytelling structures and make them immediate, now, for fiction that's universal in how it speaks to the reader's heart and contemporary in detail and impact.

Each chapter includes brief excerpts and descriptions of fiction from many times, many genres - myth and fairy tale, genre and mainstream fiction, film plots of all types, short story and novel.

Find 20 fundamental plots that recur through all fiction - with analysis and examples - that outline benefits and warnings, for writers to adapt and elaborate in their own fiction.

Ronald B. Tobias has spent his career as a writer moving from genre to genre, first as a short story writer, then as an author of fiction and nonfiction books and finally as a writer and producer of documentaries for public television. He is currently a professor in the Department of Media and Theatre Arts at Montana State University and the author of The Insider's Guide to Writing for Screen and Television. He lives in Bozeman, Montana.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780898795950
  • Publisher: F+W Media, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/15/1993
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.49 (w) x 9.31 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 11 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(4)

4 Star

(5)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

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1 Star

(1)

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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2005

    Plots, the 'How To' Primer

    Plots, the 'how to' primer This is a book for the person who seriously wants to become a paid author. Ronald Tobias took on an incredibly, almost impossible task of distilling down an innumerable number of plots into a manageable twenty. As I came to the end of '20 Master Plots: and how to build them', I realized that Mr. Tobias, as a professional published writer, by taking the tremendous effort to write this book, clearly demonstrated sincere empathy for those new to the business. The challenge facing his left-brain readers, with the logical, linear and sequential cant given our dominate neurons, is that we could be trapped into reading good 'How-To' writing books like this, until old-age Parkinson's or Alzheimer's makes it physically impossible to begin our first effort. This 232 paged, large-font trade paperback, prepares us with five fast-moving explanatory chapters. We then plow into the twenty master plots: beginning with 'Quest' and ending with 'Ascension & Descension', leaving your reviewer-writer pondering if he will ever get a book published. As an actor, I am conditioned to reading plays and scripts and making what we call 'discoveries'. In '20 Master Plots', as I was dragging my eyes over the pages on 'Pursuit', my hi-liters remained in their hip-holsters, and I wondered if I would ever finish the stinking chapter. And later, eagerly reading, then re-reading, 'Master Plot #17: Discovery', where I used fluorescent yellows, pinks and blues to soak the pages, I understood that I would most likely not pound out a book rooted in the 'Pursuit' plot and more likely would become a best-selling author based on the aptly named 'Discovery' plot. Grin . And, likewise, if you should chose to read '20 Master Plots' you will endure slow and boring chapters and delight in fast and fun pages. If you are the type of beginning writer who seeks guidance in the area of plots, this book is certainly all you need.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2006

    WORTH STUDYING

    20 MASTER PLOTS (And How to Build Them), by Ronald B. Tobias, provides an interesting analysis of plot, in general, and then a chapter-by-chapter countdown of twenty specific master-plot scenarios. Whether you believe there are really only one or two basic plots upon which all stories are built, or whether you believe there are an infinite number of plots, 20 MASTER PLOTS is worth studying.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2014

    A little different

    Five Stars
    Writing help, how to type of subject matter
    Best for new writers of any genre

    This is the second writing book I have completed this year. I don’t have that many total under my belt.

    My reaction is WOW…

    Thank you for explaining the concept of plot, for distinguishing it from story in such a way that it finally clicks for me. Thank you for giving several examples and explanations. I had no issues understanding what was being taught. It was not vague. It was very specific and concise.

    A plot is not a story, but a character is plot. She is what she does. They are one in the same.

    He explains that concept in a way that you will understand it, even if you don’t agree with it.

    I’d give this book high marks for the beginning section alone. He dissects a few stories to show plot which is exactly what I need. Show me. Dissect it.

    Then the second half of the book expands on the two types of plots. Again, he breaks it down and gives examples from other stories and movies.

    He makes stories, plot, character, and the writing process seem poetic, utilizing unseen forces, almost magical. Yet he shows you how it is completely in your grasp. It is attainable. It is not elusive.

    He does not preach a specific way of going about creating your story or plot. That is not what this book does. He explains what they are. You think you know or at least I did. He describes it differently.

    A quick read of 231 pages on my Nook. He doesn’t waste time getting to the point.

    I like his ideas. I plan on referencing this book and using it going forward.

    As always, you’re reaction will be different. Sample it, borrow it. If you love it, buy it and leave a good review. I think this book would benefit any new fiction writers of any genre.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2013

    Spend your money elsewhere

    Spend your money elsewhere

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2012

    Great help for understanding plot basics.

    This breaks the most commonn plots down into basic parts and offers some great examples on how each plot works for several major works.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2005

    Plots, the 'how to' primer

    This is a book for the person who seriously wants to become a paid author. Ronald Tobias took on an incredibly, almost impossible task of distilling down an innumerable number of plots into a manageable twenty. As I came to the end of '20 Master Plots: and how to build them', I realized that Mr. Tobias, as a professional published writer, by taking the tremendous effort to write this book, clearly demonstrated sincere empathy for those new to the business. The challenge facing his left-brain readers, with the logical, linear and sequential cant given our dominate neurons, is that we could be trapped into reading good 'How-To' writing books like this, until old-age Parkinson's or Alzheimer's makes it physically impossible to begin our first effort. This 232 paged, large-font trade paperback, prepares us with five fast-moving explanatory chapters. We then plow into the twenty master plots: beginning with 'Quest' and ending with 'Ascension & Descension', leaving your reviewer-writer pondering if he will ever get a book published. As an actor, I am conditioned to reading plays and scripts and making what we call 'discoveries'. In '20 Master Plots', as I was dragging my eyes over the pages on 'Pursuit', my hi-liters remained in their hip-holsters, and I wondered if I would ever finish the stinking chapter. And later, eagerly reading, then re-reading, 'Master Plot #17: Discovery', where I used fluorescent yellows, pinks and blues to soak the pages, I understood that I would most likely not pound out a book rooted in the 'Pursuit' plot and more likely would become a best-selling author based on the aptly named 'Discovery' plot. Grin . And, likewise, if you should chose to read '20 Master Plots' you will endure slow and boring chapters and delight in fast and fun pages. If you are the type of beginning writer who seeks guidance in the area of plots, this book is certainly all you need.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2002

    Absolutely necesary for scriptwriters

    Ever heard that all the stories are already told? Here they are. If you have a good story, you'll surely find its basic structure and the way to improve it here.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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