William Wallace Cook's 1927 book Plotto, first published in 1928, is back on my bookshelf. It had disappeared during the haze of "I don't give a fuck what you take, just get out of the house" divorce drama. I've talked about it ever since.
Becky, one of my oldest and dearest friends (who has patiently listened to me whine for over 20 years) tracked down Plotto for my birthday. She now apparently owes many favors to a rare book dealer friend of hers but that's okay with me because ... well I'm really grateful and happy.
Plotto is a writer's manual. The author's theory is that "there's nothing new under the sun" and that every story, book or screenplay boils down to this: “Purpose, opposed by Obstacle, yields Conflict.” His book provides a formula for "Master" plots and lists 1,462 conflict situations and 150 character combinations from which to choose.
Let's see ... I think I'll choose "a person influenced by an obligation"+"committing a grievious mistake and seeking in secret to live down its evil results" + "achieves a spiritual victory".