I’ve become a complete plotting method junkie. I’m always on the lookout for new technique books. A few of my faves:
Cron’s WIRED FOR STORY was one of the first plotting books I read, and I loved it. I still go back to this one every once in a while. An interesting look not just at a method of structuring story but at the purpose of storytelling as well.
I love Hayes’s ROMANCING THE BEAT. Like Cron, Hayes delves into the purpose of storytelling. This time, it’s the purpose of romance novels. A must-have for anyone writing a romance, of course, but I’d argue it’s also a great book to consult for non-love stories as well (particularly if you’ve got dueling or multiple narrators).
Truby’s ANATOMY OF STORY is one you’re going to want to read with a notebook and a pen. Actually, I’d suggest moving through this one when you already have a book in mind that you specifically want to draft. You can outline it while reading, putting Truby’s practices to work immediately.
Bell’s WRITE YOUR NOVEL FROM THE MIDDLE is worth a read because the premise is so interesting. Bell claims that each book contains a turning point in the middle, and that it’s possible to start with the turning point and work your way both to the beginning and climax of the story.
Part of the reason I find Bell’s theory so interesting is that, as writers, we all discuss “character arcs” until we’re blue in the face…Think about the shape of an arc. What does it have in the middle?
Yup. A turning point.
Nothing can freshen up your own storytelling quite like bringing in a new drafting technique, courtesy of a new plotting book. I’d love to hear your own favorites. Hit me with them in the comments below.