Finding the Plot: 4 Plot-Focused Writing Books

Pad and pen
Category: Writing

The things about writing is that it’s never enough to just write a series of lovely words, they need to have some kind of purpose. That purpose, no matter how unusual or unconventional it might be, tends to be a plot. And the thing about plots is, they tend to be pretty tricky to keep hold of when you’re knee deep in writing a story.

If you feel like you’re losing the plot and could do with a bit of help grabbing hold of those elusive strands, here’s some suggested reading material to help you get your writing under control. 

Basic Plot book cover
The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories
Christopher Booker

With examples spanning from ancient myths to soap operas, Christopher Booker pries open the seven archetypal themes that crop up over and over again. This is more an exploration of storytelling over the past 200 years than a how-to guide, but is sure to help you look at your own story with fresh eyes. 


Take off pants book cover

Take off Your Pants! Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing
Libbie Hawker

The title of this book plays off the fact that people who don’t plan their novels are sometimes called ‘pantsers’, because they tend to fly by the seat of their pants when it comes to developing plots and characters arcs. This is a short and insightful read with plenty of practical tips to help you get your head around plotting, including a guide to creating a fool proof character arc or plot.

Mythic structure book cover



The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers
Christopher Vogler

The Writer’s Journey will take you step by step through the classic hero’s journey, revealing everything you need to know about story structure along the way. Vogler includes lots of examples and exercises to help you really get to grips with the concepts he’s talking about and the book thoroughly explores the influence mythology has on writing – and on life. 


Plot perfect book cover
Plot Perfect: How to Build Unforgettable Stories Scene by Scene

Paula Munier

Literary agent, author and editor Paula Munier has put together a book with a strong focus on making sure your story not only has a plot, but also carries tension and intrigue in every scene. There's plenty of advice on plotting, as well as a series of handy tips to help you determine your story’s theme, develop captivating protagonists and work out the order events should happen in to achieve the maximum impact.  

If you need an immediate boost for your plotting woes, this classic video with advice from Kurt Vonnegut is a great place to start.


For more writing reads to add to your inspiration-library, check out seven fab advice books for writers.

Image credit StartupStockPhotos on Pixabay.