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Plotto: The Master Contest of All Plots – Student Edition – Week 2

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

Calling all undergrad and graduate writers (no matter your major) —we want you!

THE RULES:

Every Wednesday we post a prompt from William Wallace Cook’s classic how to manual Plotto: The Master Book of All Plots. Use the prompt below to write your own original 500 word (or fewer) 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 5:00pm PST. Send to: theopenbar@tinhouse.com. Please include a brief author bio (including where you go to school) with your entry (which should be pasted into the body of the email).

The Week’s Prompt:

{A}, in order to shatter his fear complex, plunges into a supposed danger that proves to be real.

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.

*Tin House is now accepting flash fiction (under 1,000 words) for FLASH FRIDAYS. Please send to theopenbar@tinhouse.com with FLASH FRIDAY as your subject line.

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