A few months ago, Tin House, to great success, released their reprinting of The Hour: A Cocktail Manifesto by Bernard DeVoto, originally published in the 1950’s. The book became a cult classic among cocktail enthusiasts, but became increasingly rare to find over the decades. In 2010, Tin House brought new life into a book that would have been lost to obscurity and time. It seems the publishing company has found another gem from the past: Plotto: The Master Book of All Plots, by the prolific pulp writer William Wallace Cook. Cook himself banged out countless stories to the tune of 66,000 words a week back in the height of pulp writing. The man clearly had a knack for creating plots and in 1928 he published his methods in a book called Plotto. While Cook passed away in 1933 in the town in Marshall, Michigan, I am sure he would have been happy knowing that his masterpiece how-to story writing book has made it through the decades.
Plotto is a guide designed for writing that operates on Cook’s theory that: Purpose, opposed by obstacle, yields conflict. The book is set up into sections: The Master plot, The Conflict Situations, and Character Combinations. The book is a little too complex in its set up to fully explain here, but choosing options from each of the three sections will help the writer to create a full-fledged story—almost like a choose-your-own-adventure book that instead makes you write what happens when you flip to page 46 instead of 12.
Tin House is due to release Plotto in November of this year with an introduction by the writer Paul Collins. This book arrives just in time for all of you out there participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). This book would surely be an asset to marathon novelists everywhere. To those of you not writing until your brains melt out of your ears this November— this book is still a unique book to have in your collection. If you suffer from writer’s block, I can assure that this book will offer a cure.