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Writing Blockbuster Plots: A Step-By-Step Guide to Mastering Plot, Structure, and Scene

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Plotting a story filled with memorable, engaging scenes from beginning to end can feel like an insurmountable challenge. Having the right plan - and the tools to execute it - can make all the difference. Writing Blockbuster Plots pulls back the curtain on story structure with step-by-step strategies and visuals that turn plotting and scene writing into a no-stress endeavor Plotting a story filled with memorable, engaging scenes from beginning to end can feel like an insurmountable challenge. Having the right plan - and the tools to execute it - can make all the difference. Writing Blockbuster Plots pulls back the curtain on story structure with step-by-step strategies and visuals that turn plotting and scene writing into a no-stress endeavor. In this completely revised and updated edition, celebrated writing instructor and plot consultant Martha Alderson helps you navigate the intricacies of story with the help of her exclusive Plot Planner and Scene Tracker tools. Using Alderson s effective, accessible techniques, you'll be able to: PLOT your story from beginning to end with a focus on dramatic action, the emotional development of your characters, and thematic significance.ENSURE that each scene contributes meaningfully to the narrative by tracking the seven essential elements of scene.LINK scenes by cause and effect to create a tight, seamless narrative.INJECT tension and conflict to keep readers glued to the page.TARGET weak areas in your story and learn how to fix them.Filled with examples from both classic and contemporary novels, as well as illustrations of the Plot Planner and Scene Tracker in action, Writing Blockbuster Plots strips the confusion out of the plotting process, enabling you to write a story that deserves a standing ovation.


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Plotting a story filled with memorable, engaging scenes from beginning to end can feel like an insurmountable challenge. Having the right plan - and the tools to execute it - can make all the difference. Writing Blockbuster Plots pulls back the curtain on story structure with step-by-step strategies and visuals that turn plotting and scene writing into a no-stress endeavor Plotting a story filled with memorable, engaging scenes from beginning to end can feel like an insurmountable challenge. Having the right plan - and the tools to execute it - can make all the difference. Writing Blockbuster Plots pulls back the curtain on story structure with step-by-step strategies and visuals that turn plotting and scene writing into a no-stress endeavor. In this completely revised and updated edition, celebrated writing instructor and plot consultant Martha Alderson helps you navigate the intricacies of story with the help of her exclusive Plot Planner and Scene Tracker tools. Using Alderson s effective, accessible techniques, you'll be able to: PLOT your story from beginning to end with a focus on dramatic action, the emotional development of your characters, and thematic significance.ENSURE that each scene contributes meaningfully to the narrative by tracking the seven essential elements of scene.LINK scenes by cause and effect to create a tight, seamless narrative.INJECT tension and conflict to keep readers glued to the page.TARGET weak areas in your story and learn how to fix them.Filled with examples from both classic and contemporary novels, as well as illustrations of the Plot Planner and Scene Tracker in action, Writing Blockbuster Plots strips the confusion out of the plotting process, enabling you to write a story that deserves a standing ovation.

30 review for Writing Blockbuster Plots: A Step-By-Step Guide to Mastering Plot, Structure, and Scene

  1. 4 out of 5

    Leith Lindenstrauss

    Martha Alderson’s Writing Blockbuster Plots is a one-stop plotting center, clear and concise, and as detailed and as comprehensive as any I have read, my two long-time favorites having been John Truby’s Anatomy of Story and Robert McKee’s Story. Writing Blockbuster Plots is not formulaic. Alderson has written for writers of all creative persuasions and stages of progress. Rather than placing limitations on the writing process, Writing Blockbuster Plots introduces means to ever-expanding possibi Martha Alderson’s Writing Blockbuster Plots is a one-stop plotting center, clear and concise, and as detailed and as comprehensive as any I have read, my two long-time favorites having been John Truby’s Anatomy of Story and Robert McKee’s Story. Writing Blockbuster Plots is not formulaic. Alderson has written for writers of all creative persuasions and stages of progress. Rather than placing limitations on the writing process, Writing Blockbuster Plots introduces means to ever-expanding possibilities. It’s upbeat and energizing. Be sure to keep a note pad with you. If your experience resembles mine, ideas for furthering and shaping your story will fly to mind. The book’s margins are not large enough to hold them. Martha Alderson overlays her presentation of plot with two suggested guide sheets, the Plot Planner and the Scene Tracker. These two plotting devices do not drive and are not the main topics of Writing Blockbuster Plots. They are, instead, take-a-look guidelines that show our story at a glance, assist in devising our plot and scenes, and reveal problems and opportunities we may not have known existed. Special emphasis is placed on dramatic action, character emotional development and thematic significance. Alderson recommends plotting and tracking on banner paper. For those of us who don’t have the wall space on which to affix six feet of banner paper this is not a drawback. For my plotter and tracker, I have made myself quite happy with sheets of ledger paper taped into fan folds. The hands-on Plot Planner and Scene Tracker span the breadth of Writing Blockbuster Plots. The information they select and highlight comes from its depth—and a lot of it there is. Writing Blockbuster Plots is as deep as it is wide. Its elements of story creation are presented in terms that every writer, regardless of theory-of-plot orientation, will find appropriate and useful. Martha Alderson leads into Writing Blockbuster Plots with a gently metaphorical overview that compares plotting to juggling. She then, in chapter 1, hits us with a definition of plot so pithily inclusive it almost terrifies. But stay tuned. Do not back out. She knows what she is doing. Writing Blockbuster Plots is a page turner and the craft-of-plotting book that will be at my elbow while finishing my first draft and is also the book I’ll be recommending as the read-this-first to my writing friends.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    This book is one of many out there on how to structure your novel. Where it differs from others is in Alderson's tools, the Plot Planner and the Scene Tracker. The Plot Planner is a way to map the plot of a story out on banner paper, giving you a bird's eye view of the events, conflicts, and structure. Her Scene Tracker is a large-scale chart, also intended to be laid out on banner paper, which allows you to analyze the scenes of your story for several elements. If you don't have the space to wo This book is one of many out there on how to structure your novel. Where it differs from others is in Alderson's tools, the Plot Planner and the Scene Tracker. The Plot Planner is a way to map the plot of a story out on banner paper, giving you a bird's eye view of the events, conflicts, and structure. Her Scene Tracker is a large-scale chart, also intended to be laid out on banner paper, which allows you to analyze the scenes of your story for several elements. If you don't have the space to work on banner paper, both tools can be used on a smaller scale. If you're already familiar with plot and structure and/or have your own way to analyze your scenes, then you may not find this book to be all that useful, but if you like to think visually, this may be just the book you're looking for.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Wetherington

    Very helpful as I have difficulty with plots, creating them and using them to effectively tell the story I want to tell. I’m not one who usually likes using forms or templates in my creative work, but I found the plot planner extremely helpful and the scene tracker, in a lesser fashion, to be something I could make use of in certain situations. I recommend this book to those who need assistance in creating and planning the plot(s) within their work.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Fredrick Danysh

    A basic course on planning and using plots when writing. Structure and the use of scene are discussed. Several stories by well known writers are evaluated for their use of plot. An interested read for any aspiring writer.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Monica B.

    Great insights!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Dimas Vega

    Aporta dos técnicas magníficas para llevar un control de los argumentos de la ficción, aprendiendo numerosos trucos a través de la práctica.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Anastasia N.

    *3.5

  8. 5 out of 5

    Tracy

    A good, useful guide to plotting that works. Definitely worth reading for the information provided.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Joe Donley

    This book goes over two different techniques on organizing your story: how to use a plotline and scene detail forms. I can't really see myself using the scene detail forms as they are really minutely detailed, but I could imagine needing a tool like that in the future once I've finished a full draft of my novel. The plotline seems to be very handy though. I've already started using the plotline to help me keep my notes in order. I would give this book a try if you are looking for direction on ho This book goes over two different techniques on organizing your story: how to use a plotline and scene detail forms. I can't really see myself using the scene detail forms as they are really minutely detailed, but I could imagine needing a tool like that in the future once I've finished a full draft of my novel. The plotline seems to be very handy though. I've already started using the plotline to help me keep my notes in order. I would give this book a try if you are looking for direction on how to improve the overall structure of your novel.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jenna Satterthwaite

    Really, really liked the first section of this book (the plot planner). Shed a lot of light on how to handle the overall journey of the plot without getting lost in the tangle that is the middle.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Barbara White

    Writing Blockbuster Plots is a great resource for my students. They have enjoyed improving their writing with the help of this book. Thanks to Goodreads First Reads for a copy of this book.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Susan McGrath

  13. 4 out of 5

    Samuel Holt

  14. 5 out of 5

    Terri

  15. 5 out of 5

    Cher Green

  16. 4 out of 5

    Veda Stamps

  17. 4 out of 5

    Will Pender

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ana

  19. 4 out of 5

    more

  20. 4 out of 5

    Alex

  21. 5 out of 5

    Grace

  22. 5 out of 5

    Nancy White

  23. 5 out of 5

    A M Rigby

  24. 5 out of 5

    G

  25. 5 out of 5

    Shane Hyde

  26. 5 out of 5

    Agent Black

  27. 4 out of 5

    ➳Ðeborah⋄

  28. 5 out of 5

    coolwind

  29. 4 out of 5

    Mary Jane

  30. 4 out of 5

    Karen

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