Monday, February 8, 2010

The Plot Thickens 8 Ways to Bring Fiction to Life by Noah Lukeman

I found it interesting I bought a book on plot, hoping to help me plan my pathway from beginning a novel to the end. However, what I found was a book, which devoted a good portion of text to characterization. Granted, at first, I was disappointed because as I mentioned I wanted to strengthen my plotting skills. What I received was a book with valuable information, containing many ways to layer plots and make plots more interesting.

The Plot Thickens 8 Ways to Bring Fiction to Live by Noah Lukeman is great for writers who have a basic plot formation, but want to take their carboard-cut-out-plain-Jane-plot and rocket it to the next level.

The first chapter, Characterization: The Outer Life, helps the writer develop  the many outer layers and use these traits for plot points.

The second chapter, Characterization: The Inner Life, focuses on character's emotional and physical state.

Chapter three, Applied Characterization, teaches how to apply the outer and inner characterization traits to your characters.

In chapter four, The Journey, we learn about three profound journeys, focusing on realization. The next journey teaches about seven different surface journeys to strengthen the character's plot.

Chapter five, Suspense, list twelve ways to create suspense and then details how to prolong the suspense.

Chapter Six, Conflict, lists thirteen ways of creating and intensifying conflict among the cast of characters.

Chapter Seven, Context, teaches writers how to focus on a macro-look at their novel to see the big picture.

Chapter Eight, Transcendency, this chapter gives ideas on how to make a novel timeless for all generations.

At the end of each chapter, Mr. Lukeman presents exercises to strengthen the writer's grasp of the material presented.

I liked this quote from Page 120, "Suspense, ultimately, is about anticipation. It is about what we do not have, what has not happened. It's about the process of watching events unfold."

From the book blurb:

Noah Lukeman is a New York literary agent whose clients include multiple winners of the Pulitzer Prize and American Book Award, National Book Award finalists, Edgar Award finalist, New York Times bestselling authors, and the faculty of esteemed universities. He has worked as a manager in Artists Management Group, and is currently president of Lukeman Literary Management, Ltd. He is also author of the bestselling The First Five Pages, now part of the curriculum in many universities.


  1. Thank you for replying. Reading non-fiction to improve my fiction is a good source of "refueling". I appreciate your comment.

    I used to translate your Chinese into, "The article is really good to see you happy refueling La." I hope this was a good translation.

  2. It all comes down to characterization, doesn't it?


Writing Tip of the Day