Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Review: Fill in the Blank Plotting

I promised to review Fill-in-the-Blank Plotting more than once, but never got around to it for some reason. My apologies for that.

Fill-in-the-Blank Plotting by Linda George is the easiest book on writing ever. She explains how to combine The Hero's Journey and the Three Act Structure into a tighter, more cohesive plot. If you're not familiar with either of these plot structures, it's time for a quick breakdown.

The Hero's Journey was made famous by Joseph Campbell. The Hero's Journey is universal with myth and folklore. There are 12 big steps within the journey. The story of Hercules, for example, follows the Hero's Journey. Wikipedia gives a good explanation of all the steps if you want to learn more now.

The Three Act Structure is what most of us know when we talk about plot structure. It's what we learn when we're in school. Within the Three Act Structure, there are key items that have to happen: inciting incident, climax, turning points.

If you're unsure about the different parts of either structure, she includes examples using Treasure Island throughout. These examples help in informing what is supposed to happen at each point in your own story. The book is short enough that you can read it before you dive into a plotting session.

You should know that this type of plotting is rigid and I wouldn't recommend it to someone who plots loosely. If you like the freedom of the loose plot, then Fill-in-the-Blank Plotting would work better for you during revision.

If you've used Fill-in-the-Blank Plotting, share your experiences below. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Last.fm hit of the day: Darkfall by God Is an Astronaut


  1. Sounds like this one's worth the read. I do my own combo of The Hero's Journey and the Three Act Structure when plotting, so I'm curious to see how Linda George combines them. Thanks for putting this one of my radar, Alicia. :)

  2. That sounds so helpful. I'll have to check it out as I am a planner through and through. Great suggestion for the pantsers to use it while editing.
    Edge of Your Seat Romance

  3. I haven't seen this book but I'll have to look for it. I feel like I could use more help with plotting.

  4. I use a combination of The Hero's Journey and another book that uses the three act structure to plot my stories. It works very well for me.

  5. I keep hopping techniques whenever I outline a new project and always end up finding something missing. This might be the book I'm looking for to settle down with one method to rule them all.


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