Posts Tagged ‘midwest journal’

Plotto Genie: The Endless Story - How to Build Plots That Grab Your Readers and Won't Let Go - By Building and Integrating Characters, Story Arcs, and Engaging ThemesHow to Build Plots That Grab Your Readers and Won’t Let Go – By Building and Integrating Characters, Story Arcs, and Engaging Themes

If you’ve ever watched a horrible movie, or quit a bad novel in disgust, it’s partially your own fault. Make that our fault.

As a culture, we demand more and more entertainment in our lives. So now we have multiple channels of shows that can be accessed any time of the day or night. We have millions of books available for incredibly inexpensive prices online – again: 24-7-365.

Because of this demand, it’s also become easier than ever to publish books and produce movies. It doesn’t matter much if they are “good” or “bad”, it only really means that they are out there and can be watched or read, consumed.

On the other hand, the really great movies and books are viewed, read, downloaded, and bought over and over and over. But more interesting is ideas behind them all have the same underlying structure.

This is the endless story.

Ever wonder what makes a great book or movie different from a pitiful excuse for entertainment?

Mostly, it starts with a plot.

But what makes a plot work?

As above, we can see that any old plot can be made new by using different actors with the same script. You’ll also see that while an elementary school rendition of Camelot is only memorable to the parents of the cast. When it is projected in the cinema with “big name” actors and actresses, then it’s a big box office draw.

What’s the difference? It could be said that it might be experienced actors bringing those characters to life. But does this explain books?

When West Side Story was converted from Romeo and Juliet, we also have modern and engaging characters developed just for that musical. When that stage play was converted to a musical film, it won 10 Oscars, including those for supporting actor and actress.

What makes a “good” plot and how is that related to the characters in it? Can what we learn from movies and theater be reverse-engineered to work in fiction or even non-fiction?

From months of my own studying the vast numbers of approaches to plotting, it’s clear that there is still a wide gulf between the mechanics of a plot and having a working framework usable for any writer.

This led to the study of two authors who had already done their own studies of which plots made successful entertainment, and actually built their own still-popular plot generators based on this knowledge.

The point of this book is to examine carefully what these authors described in their books so we can learn from their research. Then we can take what we’ve found useful in order to test on our own plots.

Many well-known and obscure writers have used these methods to springboard their imagination to new heights, instead of being dogged by “writer’s block.”

The answers to what makes a great plot are simple and few. The bonus in this book is to give you your own plot generator to help you when you’re stuck. Or to use as a regular tool in order to get off on the right footing with your next story.

Get Your Copy Today.

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PLOTTO Genie: For Pulp Fiction and Romantic Dramas

Posted: October 13, 2017 by Thrivelearning in purpose
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PLOTTO Genie: For Pulp Fiction and Romantic DramasEscape Writer’s Block and Generate Original Content Structure in Minutes Using the 31 Basic Dramatic Situations Common To All Fiction Stories

Content Structure for Dramatic Fiction has never been so simple and fast.

What if all story ideas were able to be boiled down to a single formula?

Wycliffe A. Hill had this idea in the 1930’s when no less than Cecil B. DeMille rejected one of his stories because “it had a good narrative, but no drama.” This led Hill to research what made a dramatic story. That study lead to a 1920’s author who claimed (based on even older research) that there were only 36 possible conflicts through all dramatic works.

Diving into the problem that the growing movie industry had for volume treatments to feed their industry, Hill’s name became synonymous with what Slate called the “Hollywood schlock machine.”

But Hill never intended it to become a mass-production device for plots. The original “Robot” he produced was to explore the idea of formulaic basis for stories. Not too long after, Joseph Campbell produced “monomyth” as the base for all stories. Chris Vogler then championed this idea to build scripts throughout Hollywood. And the Star Wars saga, as well as multiple Disney hits followed that generic model.

Hill himself cautioned against using the results on its own, but to use it as inspiration to ferret out new combinations of stories never before attempted. He claimed that author output had become hackneyed as they had been repeatedly explosed to the same few element combinations over and over.

For Dramatic Fiction, the work is already daunting. The author must start out with a well-developed synopsis that will hit all the plot-turns and pinch points. Using a random-humber generator and lists of the key elements to any fictional dramatic story, the Plot Wizard assists with creating a fresh dramatic synopsis, so that the inspiration and perspiration of the author can go to work.

Reviews tell of writers breaking through their Writer’s Block to find new inspiration for plots they had never imagined before. Hill notes that unfortunately, most stories tend to fall into paths other stories already travelled. This “Genie” enables fresh, new combinations of characters, obstacles, and climaxes never before seen on print or in movies.

It can at times propose some very amusing synopses. In fact, Hill mentions that it can also produce comedies.

Robert Silverberg reviewed Hill’s work and recommended:

“Pick one up, follow the instructions, write your story. You might just find that a grand literary career is unfolding for you in a wondrous, magical way.”

Get Your Copy Now.

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How Successful Authors Write Short Stories: Learning the Plottign GameHow Successful Authors Write Short Stories: Learning the Plotting Game

Most beginners seem to have the idea that the writing game is a very easy game to play, as easy as ping-pong, for instance.

A few of them have acquired a fair education; others, not so fortunate, are equipped with nothing but a gnawing desire to write, and on first appearances it seems to them that it should prove to be a very simple matter to weave their ideas into readable stories.

Some of them have a vague idea of what a plot is, but they know-nothing about BALANCE, INCITING MOTIVES, CRUCIAL SITUATIONS, CLIMAXES, etc., and care less.

When they read in their favorite magazine a cameo-like story by some master writer, they do not realize that the author may have labored for days over that story, rearranging words, eliminating paragraphs and even whole pages from the original draft, and reconstructing the plot after he has torn it to pieces half-a-dozen times.

The words flow so smoothly, the characters stand out so clearly, the plot is so simple — how easy it must be! But these writers are soon disillusioned when the rejection slips begin to roll in on them with the regularity of well-oiled clockwork.

Not until they have served a long apprenticeship do they learn that authorship is as much of a profession as surgery is and that, as in all other pursuits, it is simply a matter of the survival of the fittest.

No writer can hope to achieve real success in the writing field unless he is well-grounded in the fundamentals of plot construction, nor can he avoid an atmosphere of SAMENESS in his stories and give them the stamp of cleverness and originality unless he constantly adds to his store of plot material.

“The plot’s the thing,” and the writer who relies solely upon inspiration to furnish him with suitable plots for his stories cannot begin to compete with his more practical brother craftsman who stimulates his imagination with tid-bits from real life, as it were, and builds the foundations for his stories with the same care and exactitude that a stone mason would employ in building the foundation and framework of a house.

Get Your Copy Now.

 

 

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Mastering Plotto: Learn How to Use the Plotto Content Structure System in Seven Simple LessonsHow to Write A Novel Each Week

The trick is in coming up with enough plots.

A wildly prolific, early 20th century pulp writer, William Wallace Cook was a writing machine. He was known to write a novel each week for months at a time.

While he set the bar for pulp fiction, he was also passionate about the process of writing itself. Keeping notes on index cards, he was able to distill the process of plotting down to a simple, but thorough manual, Plotto.

Alfred Hitchcock was an early student, so was Earl Stanley Gardner. Robert Silverberg also gave a great review of the book.

When Cook published Plotto in finished from, he recieved feedback from readers who still could not work out how to use his massive book from the instructions in the front of it.

In 1934, he came out with a seven-part lesson series that simplified the learning curve.

“Plotto is a new method of plot SUGGESTION for writers of CREATIVE fiction. Let us, here at the beginning of our course, place the emphasis on the word SUGGESTION, as well as on that other word, CREATIVE. In later lessons of the course we shall go more deeply into this matter of the interpretation of suggestion.

“For the present, however, it is merely necessary to note that the interpretation of suggestion results in creative work only when the constructive imagination builds with material hewn from the quarry of individual experience. In other words, we achieve Originality; and Originality is the ideal of the Plotto method of plot construction through the interpretation of plot suggestion.”

This point many miss is that these plotting generators are best used as methods of inspiration, not as a subsitute for a writer’s perspiration. While many author’s rave about Plotto, it is perhaps better to use it as a learning tool. Certainly having a copy on hand when the muse has left you, the deadline looms and your private hell of Writer’s Block seems camped in your office.

This edition includes the Plotto Chart of Masterplots With Interchangeable Clauses for quick reference. Simply recombing these three A, B, and C Causes (Protagonist, Action/Crisis, Climax/Resolution) can themselves trigger a valuable inspiration that can get your creative juices flowing.

If you have Plotto, and don’t use it much – or would like to learn the basics of plotting, this book is a key learning manual for any author.

Get Your Copy Today.

 

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PLOTTO Genie: For Flash Fiction and Short Stories

Posted: October 11, 2017 by Thrivelearning in purpose
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PLOTTO Genie: For Flash Fiction and Short StoriesContent Structure for Flash Fiction has never been so simple and fast – using the PLOTTO Genie.

What if all short story ideas were able to be boiled down to a single formula?

Wycliffe A. Hill had this idea in the 1930’s when no less than Cecil B. DeMille rejected one of his stories because “it had a good narrative, but no drama.” This led Hill to research what made a dramatic story. That study lead to a 1920’s author who claimed (based on even older research) that there were only 36 possible conflicts through all dramatic works.

Diving into the problem that the growing movie industry had for volume treatments to feed their industry, Hill developed a unique training algorithm for authors, teaching them how to quickly come up with original taglines.

But Hill never intended it to become a mass-production device for plots. The original “Robot” he produced was to explore the idea of formulaic basis for stories. Not too long after, Joseph Campbell produced his “Hero With a Thousand Faces” which prescribed the monomyth as a base for all stories. Chris Vogler then championed that idea through Hollywood. And the Star Wars saga, as well as multiple Disney hits followed that generic model.

Hill himself cautioned against using the results on its own, but to use it as inspiration to ferret out new combinations of stories never before attempted. He claimed that author output had become hackneyed as they had been repeatedly explosed to the same few element combinations over and over.

For Flash Fiction, the work is even more daunting, as it’s not a question of filling in more conflict, action, or romance by adding words. The author must start out with a well-developed synopsis and then whittle that down, carving out the core story and limited action into a very tiny wordage.

Every single word has to now forward the plot, character, or emotional response of their thousand-word story. The Plot Wizard now assists with generating a dramatic synopsis, so that the inspiration and perspiration of the author can go to work.

Research into the plot problems of the short story also unearthed another classic from the 1920’s, “The Plot of the Short Story.” Its author, Henry A. Philips, also dissected the problems and solutions to short story plots, and excerpts from his book are included.

The object of this book is more for education of the author in the basics of how to string a plot together, and perhaps a tentative solution to his “writer’s block.”

At any rate, it gives some very amusing stories. In fact, Hill mentions that it can also produce comedies.

Robert Silverberg reviewed Hill’s work and recommended:

“Pick one up, follow the instructions, write your story. You might just find that a grand literary career is unfolding for you in a wondrous, magical way.”

Get Your Copy Now.

 

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The Complete PLOTTO – trade paperback

Posted: October 10, 2017 by Thrivelearning in purpose
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The Complete PLOTTO - Genie Content Structure CreationHow to Write A Novel Every Week

The trick is in coming up with enough plots.

A wildly prolific, early 20th century pulp writer, William Wallace Cook was a writing machine. He was known to regularly turn out a full novel every week, for months at a time.

While he set the bar for pulp fiction, he was also passionate about the process of writing itself. Keeping notes on index cards, he was able to distill the process of plotting down to a simple, but thorough manual, Plotto.

Why should you have a copy around your writing office? As Cook tells it:

“Plotto is the greatest single aid in plotting ever offered writers. Make up your mind now to give Plotto and this manual the time it deserves. The best-known writers in the world own and use Plotto.”

Alfred Hitchcock was an early student, so was Earl Stanley Gardner. Robert Silverberg also gave a great review of the book.

This point many miss is that these plotting generators are best used as methods of inspiration, not as a subsitute for a writer’s perspiration. While many author’s rave about Plotto, it is perhaps better to use it as a learning tool. Certainly having a copy on hand when the muse has left you, the deadline looms and your private hell of Writer’s Block seems camped in your office.

When Cook published Plotto in finished form in the late 1920’s, he received feedback from readers who still could not work out how to use his massive book from the instructions in the front of it.

In 1934, he came out with a seven-part lesson series that simplified the learning curve.

“Plotto is a new method of plot SUGGESTION for writers of CREATIVE fiction. Let us, here at the beginning of our course, place the emphasis on the word SUGGESTION, as well as on that other word, CREATIVE. In later lessons of the course we shall go more deeply into this matter of the interpretation of suggestion.

“For the present, however, it is merely necessary to note that the interpretation of suggestion results in creative work only when the constructive imagination builds with material hewn from the quarry of individual experience. In other words, we achieve Originality; and Originality is the ideal of the Plotto method of plot construction through the interpretation of plot suggestion.”

This edition includes the seven lessons in Plotto Instruction Manual in its Appendix so that you can quickly master plotting on your own.

Even as a complete distraction to your writing, Plotto can be perused to give you more ideas for later writing. Be sure to keep a notebook to hand to write down your own ideas. Or just get to your keyboard and start punching it out.

Also available in a letter-sized (coffee-table) book.

Get Your Copy Now.

 

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Reality In Advertising – Rosser Reeves

Posted: September 15, 2017 by Thrivelearning in purpose
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Reality In Advertising - Rosser Reeves

An All-Time Classic Restored to Help Your Advertising

Rarely has a book about advertising created such a commotion as this brilliant account of the principles of successful advertising. Published in 1961, Reality in Advertising was listed for weeks on the general best-seller lists, and is today acknowledged to be advertising’s greatest classic. It has been translated into twelve languages—French, Japanese, Spanish, Dutch, German, Italian, Portuguese, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, Hebrew—and has been published in twenty-one separate editions in fifteen countries. Leading business executives, and the advertising cognoscenti, hail it as “the best book for professionals that has ever come out of Madison Avenue.”

Rosser Reeves says: “The book attempts to formulate certain theories of advertising, many quite new, and all based on 30 years of intensive research.” These theories, whose value has been proved in the marketplace, all revolve around the central concept that success in selling a product is the key criterion of advertising.

In the course of explaining his own hard-headed approach, Mr. Reeves shows why the ad campaigns for many products are just so much money poured down the drain. He has some devastating things to say about advertising’s misguided men: the “aesthetes” and the “puffers” who put art and technique ahead of the client’s sales; and he punctures many of the misguided philosophies which lower the efficiency of advertising, rather than raising it.

But even more important is the thoroughness and clarity with which he explains many of the mysteries of how to write advertising that produces these sales.

Here, in short, is a concise, forcefully written guide that has been called “a ‘Rosetta Stone’ for the advertising business”—an essential book for anyone who works in advertising, or uses advertising extensively.

It is today required reading in hundreds of great corporations and many of the world’s leading business schools.

Rosser Reeves, one of the few men elected to the Advertising Hall of Fame, is the legendary ex-Chairman of the Board of Ted Bates & Company. He applied these principles to help build Ted Bates & Company from a small agency to one of the largest in the world. Now in his seventies, he is a man with rather dazzling reserves of energy. He is a licensed pilot, a skilled yachtsman, a collector of modern art, and a writer of short stories. From time to time he immerses himself in chess, and was captain of the first American team sent to Moscow.

Born in Danville, Virginia, Mr. Reeves studied at the University of Virginia and began his career as a reporter for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. His activities include directorship on various boards, trusteeship of a large woman’s college, and consultant to a number of large corporations. Mr. Reeves lives in New York City. Reality in Advertising is his first book.

(from the original cover)

A Note about the Author
Rosser Reeves, chairman of the board of Ted Bates & Company, is, at the age of fifty, a man with rather dazzling reserves of energy. His main preoccupation, of course, is one of the fastest-growing advertising agencies in America. However, in addition, he is a licensed pilot, a skilled yachtsman, a collector of modern art, a Civil War buff, a musician, and a writer of short stories; from time to time he immerses himself in chess, and as a nonplayer, he was captain of the last American chess team sent to Moscow. Born in Danville, Virginia, Mr. Reeves studied at the University of Virginia, and began his career as a reporter for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. But he soon gave up journalism in favor of advertising, coming to New York in 1934 and working for various agencies as a copywriter before joining Ted Bates and Company in 1940. He was vice-president and copy chief of the agency for six years, and became chairman of the board in 1955. Reality in Advertising is his first book.

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