Plotto Cover


The Master Book of All Plots

By William Wallace Cook

Tin House Books, Hardcover, 9781935639183, 438pp.

Publication Date: December 13, 2011

A classic how-to manual, William Wallace Cook's Plotto is one writer's personal method, painstakingly diagrammed for the benefit of others. The theory itself may be simple Purpose, opposed by Obstacle, yields Conflict but Cook takes his Plottoist through hundreds of situations and scenarios, guiding the reader's hand through a dizzying array of purposes and obstacles. The method is broken down into three stages: 1. The Master Plot 2. The Conflict Situation 3. Character Combinations In the first stage, Cook demonstrates that a character with particular traits . . . finds himself in a situation . . . and this is how it turns out. Following this, each Master Plot leads the reader to a list of circumstances, distributed among twenty different Conflict Groups (these range from Love's Beginning, to Personal Limitations, to Transgression ). Finally, in Character Combinations, Cook offers an extensive index of protagonists for what serves as an inexhaustible reservoir of suggestions and inspiration.