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PLOTTO: THE MASTER CONTEST OF ALL PLOTS, Week 3

“FIRST AID TO TROUBLED WRITERS,” the Boston Globe announced in September 1928—“GRINDS OUT PLOTS WITHOUT ANY FALSE START.”

Calling all writers who are obsessed with plot and obsessives who can write a mean story. We want you!

THE RULES:

Every Wednesday we will post a prompt from William Wallace Cook’s classic how to manual Plotto: The Mater Book of All Plots. Simply use the prompt below to write your own original 500 word (or less) story.

In the book, {A}= a male protagonist. {B}= a female protagonist but for our purposes, feel free to write from the point of view of any gender.

Mini-Plottos, 500 words or fewer, must be submitted by the following Monday at 5:00 PST. Send to: theopenbar@tinhouse.com with PLOTTO CONTEST as the subject line.

The Week’s Prompt:

{A’s} profession is a hazardous one—aviator, automobile racing driver, steeple jack, “human fly”—and {B} considers this fact an obstacle to their marriage.

THE RICHES:

Winners will be announced each Wednesday and will receive a hardcover copy of Plotto, online publication on the Tin House Blog and be entered in the Final Master Plot Challenge.

Plotto: The Master Book of All Plots

A classic how-to manual, William Wallace Cook’s Plotto is one writer’s personal method, painstakingly diagrammed for the benefit of others. The theory itself may be simple—“Purpose, opposed by Obstacle, yields Conflict”—but Cook takes his “Plottoist” through hundreds of situations and scenarios, guiding the reader’s hand through a dizzying array of “purposes” and “obstacles.”

Read a posthumous conversation with “the man who deforested Canada” William Wallace Cook here.

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Comments: 8

(7) Comments

  1. Joseph says:

    Thanks. Can you tell me where to go to keep current with each week’s new prompt?

  2. Masie Cochran says:

    Hi Joseph.

    The week four prompt was due Monday the 20th. The new prompt, due Monday, March 5th is: {B} receives, in a mysterious manner, a photograph, not of herself but of someone greatly resembling her.

    Please send your story to theopenbar@tinhouse.com.

    Thanks!

  3. Joseph says:

    Hi, was the pugilist prompt due yesterday or today? I wrote on it, but am a bit confused about the date it’s due and where to email it to. Is this site due for an update I guess? I thought there was a new contest each week. Thanks!

  4. Lance Cleland says:

    Gina,

    Yes, the above prompt was for last week’s contest.

    This week’s prompt is: {A}, a pugilist, believes that a friend whom he killed by a chance blow in a practice bout, is present in the ring every time he has battle.

  5. Ginia says:

    Hi,
    The date closest to the announcement of WEEK 3′s contest is 15 Feb 2012, so, should I assume that the “prompt” was “answered” this past Monday, the 20th, and cast the hazard-prone male from my thoughts? Or is the above “prompt” for THIS week, the 22nd, and someone forgot to change the date under “PLOTTO: THE MASTER CONTEST OF ALL PLOTS, Week 3″? On the other hand, my brain is often addled–is it me? Thank you.

  6. Lance Cleland says:

    Jacob,

    We would prefer an attachment, as well as a short bio.

    Thanks!

  7. Jacob says:

    Is there a preferred submission format — text in the email or as an attachment? Also, should a brief bio be included in the submission? Just wanting to follow the correct protocol. Thanks!

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