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Mastering Plot Twists: How to Use Suspense, Targeted Storytelling Strategies, and Structure to Captivat E Your Readers

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..".A unique and absolutely invaluable toolbox for any author..." Kate White, New York Times best-selling author and former editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan Unlock the secrets to superior plot twists! The key to keeping people on the edge of their seat--from memoirs to thrillers and stage plays to screenplays--is filling your stories with unexpected twists and turns. By inte ..".A unique and absolutely invaluable toolbox for any author..." Kate White, New York Times best-selling author and former editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan Unlock the secrets to superior plot twists! The key to keeping people on the edge of their seat--from memoirs to thrillers and stage plays to screenplays--is filling your stories with unexpected twists and turns. By integrating Plot Twists, Plot Reversals, and Moments of Heightened Danger (TRDs) at crucial points, you can captivate your readers with I-can't-wait-to-see-what-happens-next intrigue. The quicker pace and focused action that comes from strategically placed twists form the core of the nuanced, multifaceted books that sell--and that help you find a devoted readership. In Mastering Plot Twists, Agatha Award-winning author, Jane K. Cleland goes beyond telling writers what to do; she shows you how to do it. Within these pages, you'll find: A proven, five-step process for using TRDs, with detailed examples from best-selling books A deep dive into plotting, structure, pacing, subplots, and more to help you develop surprising yet inevitable twists. "Jane's Plotting Roadmap" and worksheets--essential tools for planning your plot Building on the award-winning instruction provided in Mastering Suspense, Structure & Plot, Cleland's newest guide will help you create effective and credible twists, creating the kind of stories that will keep your readers up long into the night. ..".A master class in crafting plots that twist and turn..." Hallie Ephron, New York Times best-selling author of You'll Never Know, Dear


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..".A unique and absolutely invaluable toolbox for any author..." Kate White, New York Times best-selling author and former editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan Unlock the secrets to superior plot twists! The key to keeping people on the edge of their seat--from memoirs to thrillers and stage plays to screenplays--is filling your stories with unexpected twists and turns. By inte ..".A unique and absolutely invaluable toolbox for any author..." Kate White, New York Times best-selling author and former editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan Unlock the secrets to superior plot twists! The key to keeping people on the edge of their seat--from memoirs to thrillers and stage plays to screenplays--is filling your stories with unexpected twists and turns. By integrating Plot Twists, Plot Reversals, and Moments of Heightened Danger (TRDs) at crucial points, you can captivate your readers with I-can't-wait-to-see-what-happens-next intrigue. The quicker pace and focused action that comes from strategically placed twists form the core of the nuanced, multifaceted books that sell--and that help you find a devoted readership. In Mastering Plot Twists, Agatha Award-winning author, Jane K. Cleland goes beyond telling writers what to do; she shows you how to do it. Within these pages, you'll find: A proven, five-step process for using TRDs, with detailed examples from best-selling books A deep dive into plotting, structure, pacing, subplots, and more to help you develop surprising yet inevitable twists. "Jane's Plotting Roadmap" and worksheets--essential tools for planning your plot Building on the award-winning instruction provided in Mastering Suspense, Structure & Plot, Cleland's newest guide will help you create effective and credible twists, creating the kind of stories that will keep your readers up long into the night. ..".A master class in crafting plots that twist and turn..." Hallie Ephron, New York Times best-selling author of You'll Never Know, Dear

30 review for Mastering Plot Twists: How to Use Suspense, Targeted Storytelling Strategies, and Structure to Captivat E Your Readers

  1. 4 out of 5

    Samantha Luce

    Lots of examples. (maybe too many?) Could have used a bit more instruction, but overall informative. Presented in a straight forward, easy to follow manner. ARC received for an unbiased review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Diane Hernandez

    Mastering Plot Twists pulls back the curtain on how the writing process works. Excellent manual on plotting, character motivation and including the unexpected within your writing. Each chapter includes a brief lesson, a multitude of examples, and exercises for the reader to apply the knowledge to their own works. There are also two case studies or stories, which the author uses to illustrate her points. Not only are the case studies from different genres—political thriller and middle grade fantas Mastering Plot Twists pulls back the curtain on how the writing process works. Excellent manual on plotting, character motivation and including the unexpected within your writing. Each chapter includes a brief lesson, a multitude of examples, and exercises for the reader to apply the knowledge to their own works. There are also two case studies or stories, which the author uses to illustrate her points. Not only are the case studies from different genres—political thriller and middle grade fantasy—so are the examples making this a useful book for any author. Each chapter concludes with a brief summary of its takeaways. The two tools provided, the TRD (twist, reversal and danger) Development Checklist and the ICE (intrigue, credible and evidence) assessment model will show the underlying skeleton of any book. Jane’s Plotting Road Map will shorten the overwhelming process of writing into manageable chunks. While marketed to writers, Mastering Plot Twists is an excellent resource for readers and reviewers interested in the mechanics of writing. For both aspiring and experienced writers, there are many tips and tricks to be found here. 4 stars! Thanks to Writer’s Digest and NetGalley for an advanced copy.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sandy

    Plot twists and suspense are ideas I've always associated with thrillers and mysteries, not the kinds of romance stories I write. This book showed me that isn't necessarily the case. Any story can benefit from plot twists to increase reader engagement and immersion. The information in this book is laid out in a three-pronged approach that makes it very easy to digest. First, the whys and hows of pacing, character motivations, and plotting are represented theoretically. Next, the information is ex Plot twists and suspense are ideas I've always associated with thrillers and mysteries, not the kinds of romance stories I write. This book showed me that isn't necessarily the case. Any story can benefit from plot twists to increase reader engagement and immersion. The information in this book is laid out in a three-pronged approach that makes it very easy to digest. First, the whys and hows of pacing, character motivations, and plotting are represented theoretically. Next, the information is examined through examples (both of published works and several stories the author develops during the course of the book). Finally, the reader is encouraged to apply the exercises to their own story. Overall, this is an actionable craft book with a conversational writing style that is easy to read. While every writer needs to find their own path in using the information presented, there is enough of value here to make it very worthwhile.

  4. 5 out of 5

    ☆Tweety ~ purplebass ☆

    I've always loved writing but I've had a hard time finishing anything I plan to write. This is why I was looking for a book that would help me plan ahead and let my creativity flourish until my story would be over, and I was glad I could read this book. This is not the first guide about writing that I've read. I honestly don't think that guides can help much because to write you not only need to have original ideas (or ideas in general) but you also need to be constant. Being constant is one of I've always loved writing but I've had a hard time finishing anything I plan to write. This is why I was looking for a book that would help me plan ahead and let my creativity flourish until my story would be over, and I was glad I could read this book. This is not the first guide about writing that I've read. I honestly don't think that guides can help much because to write you not only need to have original ideas (or ideas in general) but you also need to be constant. Being constant is one of the most important things when you decide to write a book - whether it's for your own pleasure or for publication. What I think this book had that others didn't is probably the way the author explains each point and proves it with examples from best-selling books and some excerpts written to explain the purpose of each chapter. Besides the example, there are grinds where you can practice what the author just tried to help you with your story et all. The book is divided in chapters and in every chapter the author discusses characters, storyline and how to help you produce good material. I liked that there was a logic behind the explanations and while I was reading I jotted down some of the tips the author suggested to craft my own book. I don't know if it will ever be written, but at least I learnt new things that would help me improve.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kate Ellis

    A great resource book full of clear well written advice and guidance for writers, whilst also educating Readers/Reviewers like myself. I am now much more aware of the skills of writers using plot twists and of more aspects of character development, I have a better understanding of genre differences, and of genre overlaps. A book to dip in and out of. A book to recommend to writers, writers writing about writers, and anyone with an interest in the craft of writing.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Ryan

    This is the second book I've read by this author on the topic of plots. Her books, overall, are excellent and the information is invaluable to writers. It's organized well and diverse. But the original examples she provides are startlingly bad and often cliche to the point of being difficult to take seriously. The inclusion of a middle-grade fantasy was sad; I skimmed it, as I did the thriller example, which was hokey and hard to follow out of a sheer lack of interest. The best examples come fro This is the second book I've read by this author on the topic of plots. Her books, overall, are excellent and the information is invaluable to writers. It's organized well and diverse. But the original examples she provides are startlingly bad and often cliche to the point of being difficult to take seriously. The inclusion of a middle-grade fantasy was sad; I skimmed it, as I did the thriller example, which was hokey and hard to follow out of a sheer lack of interest. The best examples come from books that have been out for a while and are easily found (and proven successes). Further, some of the material appears in MASTERING SUSPENSE, so that's annoying and frustrating to see it retrod here.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Edmund

    I guess my expectation of this book was a thorough analysis of plot twists and how to do a good shocker - Cleland has a slightly different take, considering 'twists' to be story beats with changes in tension. So in many respects Mastering Plot Twists is more a general book on writing with more more focus on tension changes than other areas. Which in itself is no major problem, but could be disappointing for those after an intense focus on TWISTS. Probably the strongest part of the book is the pre I guess my expectation of this book was a thorough analysis of plot twists and how to do a good shocker - Cleland has a slightly different take, considering 'twists' to be story beats with changes in tension. So in many respects Mastering Plot Twists is more a general book on writing with more more focus on tension changes than other areas. Which in itself is no major problem, but could be disappointing for those after an intense focus on TWISTS. Probably the strongest part of the book is the pre-plotting part in which Cleland describes useful planning techniques to setup good tension, rather than just attacking a project and expecting to be able to switch the tensions up as is. To the books detriment the analysis and breakdowns do get a little dry and list-heavy, examples from literature are always useful in books on writing, but the balance between keeping up interest and dry analysis was a little skewed in Mastering Plot Twists.

  8. 4 out of 5

    James

    The funniest and, yet, most unfortunate aspect of this book is that it is full of iced turds. Well, ICEd TRDs is more accurate. You'll see. Many of the recommendations are pedestrian and easily skimmed. However, this book does contain many hidden gems which make it well worth purchasing for that growing writing craft shelf (or is it shelves by now?). I'm an Underliner, and, having read this book, it's filled with lots of underlining. So. Notwithstanding the cringeworthy acronyms and ho-hum advic The funniest and, yet, most unfortunate aspect of this book is that it is full of iced turds. Well, ICEd TRDs is more accurate. You'll see. Many of the recommendations are pedestrian and easily skimmed. However, this book does contain many hidden gems which make it well worth purchasing for that growing writing craft shelf (or is it shelves by now?). I'm an Underliner, and, having read this book, it's filled with lots of underlining. So. Notwithstanding the cringeworthy acronyms and ho-hum advice, there are some interesting insights here.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Rosemary Rey

    It took me a lot longer to complete this book because of the way the content was presented. I didn't feel as engaged as I usually feel when reading craft books. I felt there were too many examples of books with excerpts that highlighted the author's points, but I would have preferred fewer examples and more of the author's opinion on the matter. However, the book is great for writers to navigate how to create plot twists in their novels when they need an example of books to read on further. It took me a lot longer to complete this book because of the way the content was presented. I didn't feel as engaged as I usually feel when reading craft books. I felt there were too many examples of books with excerpts that highlighted the author's points, but I would have preferred fewer examples and more of the author's opinion on the matter. However, the book is great for writers to navigate how to create plot twists in their novels when they need an example of books to read on further.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Nic

    I read through page 55 of 230. I suspect there's accurate information there, but I didn't find the writing style very accessible. I read through page 55 of 230. I suspect there's accurate information there, but I didn't find the writing style very accessible.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Diane Wordsworth

    I really love the amount of information in this book. There are lots of good suggestions I'll certainly be trying out. I wish the author's earlier book on a similar topic was available as an ebook in the UK so I could read that one too. Unfortunately I struggled to reach the end of this book properly as the formatting was all over the place and got quite confusing in places. I tried it on both the Kindle Fire and the Kindle Paperwhite, and things like tables, page numbers, headings, pull quotes, I really love the amount of information in this book. There are lots of good suggestions I'll certainly be trying out. I wish the author's earlier book on a similar topic was available as an ebook in the UK so I could read that one too. Unfortunately I struggled to reach the end of this book properly as the formatting was all over the place and got quite confusing in places. I tried it on both the Kindle Fire and the Kindle Paperwhite, and things like tables, page numbers, headings, pull quotes, etc, were randomly scattered. It's not in my nature to give a poor star rating to a book I've not actually finished reading, and certainly not when the actual writing is so good. Therefore, my review will remain only on NetGalley on this occasion and won't be shared anywhere else. Thanks for letting me see this book.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Callie J. J.

    EXCELLENT!!!! I read this book not expecting it to inspire me to pick up my old manuscripts! Implementing these tips have brought so much "flavor"to my writing. I've read and reread this book, each time slowly so that I can apply the techniques thoughtfully. EXCELLENT!!!! I read this book not expecting it to inspire me to pick up my old manuscripts! Implementing these tips have brought so much "flavor"to my writing. I've read and reread this book, each time slowly so that I can apply the techniques thoughtfully.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Tom Kenis

    Recommended to anyone engaged in any kind of story writing.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Danielle Annett

    The author successfully breaks down topics but there are more examples than explanations. It's as if someone asks you, "tell me how to make a great movie," and then you just have them watch a great movie rather than actually TELLING them what things made it great. What beats to hit or what to really hone in on. There are useful tidbits in here and for new authors, this can be really helpful. But if you have a few books under your belt and are just looking to further hone your craft, I'm not sure The author successfully breaks down topics but there are more examples than explanations. It's as if someone asks you, "tell me how to make a great movie," and then you just have them watch a great movie rather than actually TELLING them what things made it great. What beats to hit or what to really hone in on. There are useful tidbits in here and for new authors, this can be really helpful. But if you have a few books under your belt and are just looking to further hone your craft, I'm not sure you'll get as much out of it. I did find the section on character motivation useful as well as the portion on pacing. If you're an aspiring author or looking to craft a better first book, this would be helpful for you.a 3.5 Stars

  15. 4 out of 5

    Francis Tapon

    As a nonfiction writer, I was looking forward to reading a book to help me make plot twists, especially since the marketing pitch of the book says that the advice applies to nonfiction writers and not just fiction writers. Unfortunately, I didn't learn much. The book is divided into two parts: pre-plotting and plotting. The book does break down how to introduce Twists, Reversals, and Danger (TRD). However, I wish there was much more practical "how-to" advice. I felt that the book spent too much tim As a nonfiction writer, I was looking forward to reading a book to help me make plot twists, especially since the marketing pitch of the book says that the advice applies to nonfiction writers and not just fiction writers. Unfortunately, I didn't learn much. The book is divided into two parts: pre-plotting and plotting. The book does break down how to introduce Twists, Reversals, and Danger (TRD). However, I wish there was much more practical "how-to" advice. I felt that the book spent too much time giving long examples. I realize the author wants to "show not tell" - but I wish there was a bit more telling and less showing. DISCLOSURE: I was given a free advanced copy to write an objective review.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    I actually chose this book to help me evaluate plot in books I review. If I had chosen this book as a writer new to plotting I might have rated it differently. There is information, examples, and some practice, however I wanted a more workbook style. The practice was less detailed than I was expecting and I think mastery of the technique would require more chances to apply. Mastering Plot Twists is a good reference piece, but I wanted more.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Coralie

    Clear, concise and actually actionable. Not one of those waffly, airy-fairy, theoretical-without-substance writing craft books. If you love to work with narrative structure (the the point of percentage markers through a manuscript), you will love this. Also gives blow-by-blow strategies on how to use TRDs: Twists, Reversals and Danger. Yes, you have heard of them, and you can possibly even figure it out, but this will make your life so much easier.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    It was...just so basic. Almost formulaic. There is an overabundance of charts which made my head hurt. All the information I felt I already knew, but I do think the author did a decent job of saying common sense things in a new way. Still, everything in this book is common sense. I don't think there's anything here that isn't explained and explored better somewhere else. Wouldn't recommend. It was...just so basic. Almost formulaic. There is an overabundance of charts which made my head hurt. All the information I felt I already knew, but I do think the author did a decent job of saying common sense things in a new way. Still, everything in this book is common sense. I don't think there's anything here that isn't explained and explored better somewhere else. Wouldn't recommend.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Panda Incognito

    There are enough useful insights here that I'm rating this book three stars, but readers need to be prepared for an overabundance of charts, strange phrasing that requires mental translation, examples from terrible stories, and lots of repetition. There are enough useful insights here that I'm rating this book three stars, but readers need to be prepared for an overabundance of charts, strange phrasing that requires mental translation, examples from terrible stories, and lots of repetition.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen Lewis

    After hundreds of pages written, false starts and stops and trying many different novel writing methods, I finally completed the first draft of my novel. Jane Cleland’s book gave me the organizational tools to confidently forge ahead and bring my story to a satisfying conclusion. Thank you Jane!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Cari

    This was a great read - I'm still a little confused by the plotting road map, but I'm using the concepts to the best of my ability! I'm also going back to read Cleland's first book, because I may have missed something there :-) This was a great read - I'm still a little confused by the plotting road map, but I'm using the concepts to the best of my ability! I'm also going back to read Cleland's first book, because I may have missed something there :-)

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lori Herbst

    Very helpful. Very encouraging.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Nikki Brooks

    As a wannabe writer, stymied by lack of time to be more than a dabbler at the moment, I found this a great way to tighten up the plot points in my WIP!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Fernando Alcala Suarez

  25. 4 out of 5

    Beth Ann

  26. 5 out of 5

    J.E.S. Hays

  27. 5 out of 5

    Shea Lord

  28. 4 out of 5

    Karen

  29. 4 out of 5

    Story

  30. 4 out of 5

    Charlie

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