Plotto does all this. Created by a master of organized creativity, William Wallace Cook (one of the most prolific writers in history), Plotto has been prized by professional authors and screenwriters since its publication in 1928, and is still in demand today, with copies of the original edition selling for up to $400.
This Norton Creek Edition is an exact reproduction of Cook's work. To keep the book down to a manageable size (300 pages of very small type) while retaining its powerful features, Cook uses a telegraphic format that takes some getting used to, so working your way carefully through the introduction and its examples is the key to professional-quality results. Because Plotto was written in the Twenties, its situations can seem old-fashioned and its terminology politically incorrect, but these problems are more apparent than real. Cook himself wrote both westerns and early classics of science fiction, so you see how replacing stagecoach with star ship or dance hall girl with male stripper are within the reach of anyone using the Plotto system, and, in fact, this kind of substitution is how the book is intended to be used, and is the key to its flexibility and enduring popularity.
William Wallace Cook’s fiction output was so prolific that he was called “the man who deforested Canada.” He was an early adopter of many then-new technologies. He was one of the first writers to compose on a typewriter and to use card files to index an enormous collection of magazine and newspaper clippings. Plotto is an extension of Cook’s passion for efficiency and method in writing.
Norton Creek Press has also published Cook’s autobiography, The Fiction Factory, (under the pseudonym of John Milton Edwards), which covers the first half of his writing career in detail.
Born in Michigan, at one point he moved to Arizona for his health, and the Old West ambiance he soaked up there allowed him to become a much-sought-after writer of Westerns. His interest in technology no doubt was the source of his science fiction novels, such as “A Round Trip to the Year 2000,” written before SF was an established genre. And this means that it will come as no surprise that Cook wrote screenplays for early silent movies, starting in 1912 with “It All Came Out in the Wash.”
Cook published Plotto in 1928, towards the end of his life, making it his gift to new generations of writers. The same edition has been published with three different subtitles: