Monday, November 20, 2006

An Update and a Request: Who is Your Favorite Plotter?

I've been making steady progress after my little writing crisis, and things are beginning to look up.

My regular readers probably know that I dropped my last novel nearly six months into its development. I promise you, that felt much worse than having all four of my wisdom teeth removed. Anyway, I decided that I need to write simpler novels for a while, at least until I get the hang of writing a plot inside and out, forward and backward, and upside down.

This means studying plots by other writers. I've done this with A Wizard of Earthsea by Le Guin, Casino Royale by Fleming, and Captain's Courageous by Kipling. But to meet my goal, I have to study at least ten more books. Upcoming novels include one more by Fleming and Le Guin, and at least one by Parker, L'Amour, Tolkien (The Hobbit), C. S. Forester (Hornblower), Harold Lamb (Wolf of the Steppes), and possibly Mickey Spillane and Agatha Christie. Notice that all of these are genre writers. I'm not going for grand here.

That's where you come in. If my readers know of any other well-plotted but simple stories, I would be most grateful for your suggestions. The authors I'm looking for can be as shallow as a teaspoon and as repetitive as a music box so long as they write page-turners. In fact, the more accessible the story, the better for my purposes.

So in fantasy, who's the best plotter you know?
In sci-fi?
Action & adventure?
Clandestine spy thrillers?
Or whatever floats your boat...