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Plot vs. Story

Manuscript Structure

Writing Exercises

Story Arc

the foundation of plot book cover

The Foundation of Plot

Structure underlies every story, but without a strong foundation, even well-written sentences can fail to result in a marketable manuscript. The Foundation of Plot defines the components of a story arc, details the differences between plot and story, and covers common errors writers make. It also includes exercises which apply concepts to works in progress or new projects.
Drawing on the author’s decades of storytelling and teaching experience, this short guide provides the framework for fiction, narrative nonfiction, and memoir, walking writers through a first draft, the repair of a failed manuscript, or any draft in between. For experienced authors and first-time writers alike, applying the concepts outlined in this manual can help launch a submission from the slush pile to the bookstore shelf.

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“The Foundation of Plot is a pitch-perfect book on editing.”
Rob Samborn
Screenwriter and author of the Painted Souls Books
“A short guide packed with essential tools for every writer's toolbox. I wish everyone pitching at Killer Nashville read The Foundation of Plot first. A must-read for anyone interested in the writing craft.”
Clay Stafford
Bestselling author, filmmaker, and founder of
Killer Nashville International Writers Conference
“This concise and practical guide to story structure is destined to become a classic, one that every author will want on their reference shelf.”
M.A. Monnin
Author of the Intrepid Traveler Mysteries
“If you're even thinking about writing a book of any kind, Elena Hartwell's The Foundation of Plot is essential reading before you pick up the proverbial pen. Written in concise prose, Taylor provides a clear outline of what it takes to write a book with relatable examples and exercises. She also provides an authorial perspective lacking in most how-to-writes—the impact of what you write on selling your work. A short read packed with actionable information for the beginner from a clearly experienced writer.”
Christina Hoag
author of Law of the Jungle, Skin of Tattoos
 and Girl on the Brink
“The Foundation of Plot is a concise guide that doesn't shoehorn the writer into a single set approach. It's so good, I'm using it to help my review of a manuscript I was about to submit to my publisher. I look forward to the rest of the series.”
Edward J. Leahy
Author of the Kim Brady Mystery Series
“The Foundation of Plot is a must-read for aspiring novelists and a welcome refresher for already established authors. Drawing from decades of experience, Elena Hartwell provides simple exercises and fresh perspectives that can help writers work their way out of any plot conundrum. It is an invaluable guide that takes the mystery out of plotting a novel.  I can’t wait for the rest of the series!”
Lori Duffy Foster
Author of the Lisa Jamison Mystery Series

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