#BookReview “The Foundation of Plot” by Elena Hartwell

August 1-31, 2022 Book Tour

book cover

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5/5 Stars!

Novice and seasoned writers should have The Foundation of Plot (TFOP) in their resource library.

In less than a hundred pages, the necessary building blocks of story structure are explained in relation to the plot and each other.

Complete with examples from well-known books and mini exercises, the author shows how writers can build a strong, dynamic plot while staying true to the story.

As a writer, I was impressed by the practical approach and easy flow of the book. The author doesn’t waste time or space with flowery words or literary theories. This is what makes TFOP especially beneficial for new writers still finding their way and their writer’s voice.

While querying is mentioned often—and part of the title—self-publishers should not pass TFOP by. It’s a great resource to help write and polish the best manuscript possible, and that’s something all writers want.

This little book packs a powerful punch and would be a great investment for all authors. I plan to add a print copy to my writing resource library.

Enjoy!

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Synopsis:

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.

 

Book Details

Genre: Nonfiction

Published by: Elena Hartwell

Publication Date: July 19, 2022

Number of Pages: 97

ISBN: 9798986020600

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads | IndieBound

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Tour Host Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

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Giveaway!

This is a giveaway hosted by Providence Book Promotions for Elena Hartwell. See the widget for entry terms and conditions. Void where prohibited.
Thank you for your interest in this tour!

~~~

Find Your Next Great Read at Providence Book Promotions!

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#ReleaseBlitz “Mise en Place: Memoir of a Girl Chef” by Marisa Mangani

 

Memoir

Date Published: August 16, 2022

Publisher: River Grove Books

 

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Marisa’s comfort zone is deep inside the restaurant kitchen alongside its dysfunctional characters and the abundance of booze and drugs.

But in the nineteen-seventies, girls baked or made salads. The heat and machismo of the hot line was not a place for a girl with a passion for food and the drive to be the best.

From Hawaii, to Portland and New Orleans, she struggles  with her own shyness and the limited expectations for the only female in the kitchen. She finally becomes Chef, successfully managing high-volume restaurants at three World’s Fairs, but something is missing.

Still searching, as a burnt-out chef, she embarks on another male-dominated career.

Mise en Place —Memoir of a Girl Chef is a story about the determination to succeed in the face of personal handicaps and cultural norms.

“Mangani charts a deep dive through the roots of our modern American
food obsession with a highly personal tale of memory, character, flavor, and
place.” —Ian McNulty, Food Writer, The Times-Picayune/The New
Orleans Advocate

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About the Author

MARISA MANGANI was born and raised in Hawaii and cooked her way to Portland, New Orleans Vancouver and Australia. She now resides in Florida where she runs her own commercial kitchen design company, Mise en Place
Design.

She is one of the eight featured chefs in Thrillist’s
“Why 8 Top Chefs Quit the Kitchen.”

Contact Links

Website

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#ReleaseBlitz “The Courtesan and Mr. Hyde (Mad Scientists Society, Book 1)” by Catherine Stein

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Mad Scientists Society, Book 1

Historical Romance, Steampunk Romance

Date Published: August 16, 2022

Publisher: Steam Cat Press

 

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Sometimes the path to true love is a walk on the wicked side.

Dr. Henry Jekyll has—almost—always lived by the rules. Hoping to improve society by separating a person’s good and evil halves, Hal tests an experimental potion on himself. When the drug lowers his usual inhibitions, Hal crashes a high-class party, downs a strong drink, and propositions a sophisticated courtesan. All in the name of science, of course.

Calliope Finch needs only six more months as a glamorous mistress to earn enough to open the library of her dreams. So when Callie meets the awkward, bookish party crasher calling himself Mr. Hyde, she knows nothing can come of it. Not when his curious charm and unfailing honesty come at the expense of his bank account. All she can spare him is a kiss—and maybe one night.

Spurred on by their unwavering attraction, Hal and Callie soon become friends and scientific collaborators. But Callie’s list of potential protectors is dwindling, Hal’s potion might not be the solution he hopes, and a mysterious enemy is making mischief at every turn. With their goals slipping ever further from reach, Hal and Callie must put their minds and hearts to the test. Even if it means freeing sides of themselves they’ve long kept hidden.

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Excerpt

She needed to get back to work. Nothing could come of wasting her time flirting with this mysterious party-crasher. No matter how intriguing he was.

“It is quite the extravagant affair,” the man said. His gaze fixed on Callie, sweeping up and down her body. “I’m glad I came. Mr. Ackner’s stoves may be second-rate, but his guests certainly are not.” Again, his face twitched a bit. Callie had the impression he wasn’t accustomed to speaking so boldly. Perhaps the alcohol had loosened his tongue.

She tried to quash her curiosity. It was time to move on. She glanced around, seeking potential wealthy lovers. That bastard Hinsberg caught her eye and gave her a wink. Callie quickly turned her gaze away. She could overlook the fact that he was twice her age, but he was cold and cruel, and that was entirely unacceptable.

She took hold of the party-crasher’s arm and steered him toward the exit, telling Hinsberg without words she was otherwise occupied. The young man flinched at her touch but didn’t try to pull away, allowing her to lead him out into the hall.

“Are we headed to a private chamber for amorous purposes?” he asked, a hopeful note in his voice. He thrust a hand into a pocket. “I brought coins. How much do your services cost?”

Callie shook her head, trying not to laugh at his bizarre naivety. “More than you have.”

“Oh.” His shoulders slumped.

Callie tossed back the remainder of her champagne and set the empty glass on a decorative table in the middle of the corridor. Ackner could pay for new furniture if it left rings. Her companion looked down at his own half-finished drink, then shrugged and discarded it.

“Perhaps a small subset of your services?” he offered. “I have…” He made a quick check. “Two dollars and forty-seven cents.”

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 About the Author

Award-winning author Catherine Stein believes that everyone deserves love and that Happily Ever After has the power to help, to heal, and to comfort.

She writes sassy, sexy romance set during the Victorian and Edwardian eras.


Her books are full of action, adventure, magic, and fantastic technologies.

Catherine lives in Michigan with her husband and three rambunctious kids. She loves steampunk and Oxford commas, and can often be found dressed in Renaissance Festival clothing, drinking copious amounts of tea.

Contact Links

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Twitter

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Purchase Links

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iBooks

BookShop

IndieBound

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RABT Book Tours & PR

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#BookTour “The Foundation of Plot” by Elena Hartwell

August 1-31, 2022 Book Tour

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Synopsis:

The Foundation of Plot by Elena Hartwell

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.

 

Book Details

Genre: Nonfiction

Published by: Elena Hartwell

Publication Date: July 19, 2022

Number of Pages: 97

ISBN: 9798986020600

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads | IndieBound

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Read an excerpt:

Section of Chapter One: The Foundation of Plot

Raw doesn’t mean terrible. It’s just not ready for prime time.

Foundation—story structure—underlies everything that writers produce. No matter how avant-garde a literary work might appear on the surface, dig deep enough and a skeleton lies underneath.

Solidifying that underlying foundation can come at any point during the writing process. It could be in an outline before writing a single sentence, much as a carpenter uses a blueprint to build a house. Or it could be during a rough draft, determining the foundation through trial and error with character and action, like a dancer experimenting with choreography while the music plays.

What’s important is that the process suits the writer for each individual project. For one project, a writer might benefit from building an outline first, while another project might evolve better with an organic method, discovering the foundation during a first draft.

There’s no right or wrong about writing from an outline or relying on an organic process—only that the writer finishes that often stubborn first draft. Some writers mix and match, starting by writing organically, then creating an outline partway through, or changing the original outline completely as scenes begin to unfold. Or writers might create a simple outline, then figure out the bulk of the project while building the scenes on the page.

It’s never too late to make repairs. Even after multiple drafts, a writer can still improve a manuscript’s foundation.

Regardless of when the writer pays attention to foundation, the manuscript will continue to evolve through each rewrite. From the first inklings of an idea to the final, polished manuscript, writers—whether they know it or not—shape and reshape the foundation of their work.

One concept that will be useful before going deeper into foundation is the difference between story and plot. Once that concept is clear, it may be easier to identify what does or doesn’t work in a current project.

Story Versus Plot

As used in this guide, story is all-encompassing. It includes what happens before a book starts, everything in all the scenes, and everything that occurs off the page. It even includes what happens after the manuscript is finished, when the reader’s imagination runs wild after “the end.”

Plot, on the other hand, is made up solely of the events on the page.

One error writers make in their early—and sometimes even late—drafts is to include parts of the story that aren’t necessary for the plot or leave out scenes a reader most needs on the page. This comes back to foundation. Those errors would be like using either too many joists to hold up a floor—making it heavy, cumbersome, and expensive—or not enough joists—causing the floor to fail the first time it bears weight.

In both of those instances, the writer has confused story and plot.

Falling in love with our own words, our characters, and the scenes that play out in our heads are constant dangers for writers. We want to include everything we research and invent. Sometimes this causes us to start too early in the lives of the characters and include scenes that are potentially beautifully written and explore behavior, motivation, and backstory but don’t move the plot forward. We love our characters and believe a reader will be just as curious as we are about every aspect of their lives.

Readers, for the most part, want to follow a series of connected events leading to a satisfying conclusion. They don’t want to read a series of unconnected events that send them in circles or down alleys that ultimately lead nowhere.

That is not the same as sending a reader down a wrong path for dramatic effect, as in a mystery where the detective follows the wrong lead. That experience can add to the plot, as a wrong lead can increase suspense. But it can be a problem if a detective goes down a wrong path and learns nothing from it.

Readers want each road the writer takes them down to add to the overall story—even when that road teaches the protagonist what they don’t want or what won’t solve the problem at hand.

A detective determining who isn’t the culprit can be just as important—and satisfying in its own way—as when the detective catches the killer.

Readers may not be able to put this concept into words, but we’ve all heard comments like, “it took several chapters before I got into it” or “the writing was fine, but nothing happened at the beginning” or “I lost interest halfway through.” Those are instances when a writer likely included material the reader didn’t need—no matter how good the quality of the writing.

Don’t confuse well-written sentences with a well-written book. High quality paints and canvases and excellent brushstrokes can still turn out an unsuccessful painting. A solid manuscript is more than just well-written sentences, beautifully crafted paragraphs, or even interesting chapters. A solid manuscript has a clear story arc, with each scene in each chapter adding to the whole and building a solid foundation.

Excerpt from The Foundation of Plot by Elena Hartwell. Copyright © 2022 by Elena Hartwell. Reproduced with permission from Elena Hartwell. All rights reserved.

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Author Bio:

Elena Hartwell PHOTO CREDIT MARK PERLSTEIN

Elena Hartwell has spent years supporting writers and constructing stories. Her award-winning and bestselling works include the Eddie Shoes mysteries and All We Buried (written under Elena Taylor). Her plays have been seen around the US and UK, garnering critical acclaim and stellar reviews. As a developmental editor she has worked with hundreds of writers, most recently as senior editor and director of programming for the boutique editing house, Allegory Editing. She regularly teaches writing workshops and enjoys helping others achieve their writing dreams.

Find Elena Hartwell Online:

www.ElenaHartwell.com
Writing Blog: The Mystery of Writing
As Elena Taylor: ElenaTaylorAuthor.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @elenahartwell
Instagram – @elenataylorauthor
Twitter – @Elena_TaylorAut
Facebook – @ElenaTaylorAuthor

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Tour Host Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

~~~

Giveaway!

This is a giveaway hosted by Providence Book Promotions for Elena Hartwell. See the widget for entry terms and conditions. Void where prohibited.
Thank you for your interest in this tour!

~~~

Find Your Next Great Read at Providence Book Promotions!

~~~