The Plot Thickens 8 Ways to Bring Fiction to Life

Noah Lukeman

St. Martin's Griffin



Trade Paperback

240 Pages



Request Desk Copy Request Exam Copy
As a literary agent, Noah Lukeman hears thousands of book pitches a year. Often the stories sound great in concept but never live up to their potential on the page. The Plot Thickens analyzes the classic elements of storytelling, showing beginning and advanced writers alike how to implement the fundamentals of successful plot development, such as character building and heightened suspense and conflict.

Noah Lukeman offers writers innovative principles, techniques, and numerous thought-provoking exercises. His frequent references to book, film, and TV classics make for a lively and accessible read. Writers will find it impossible to walk away from this invaluable guide—a veritable fiction-writing workshop—without boundless ideas.


Praise for The Plot Thickens

"I can think if countless novels that would have been improved by following The Plot Thickens, which is full of practical common sense about how to write fiction and answers many of the difficult questions first novelists ask themselves."—Michael Korda, author of Making the List

"In his book The First Five Pages, Noah Lukeman, one of the top literary agents in New York, gave writers a gift. Now, in The Plot Thickens, he shows writers how to build stories in which the plot emerges from fresh, alive, and intense characters. Both beginners and more advanced writers will find many wonderful, thought-provoking concepts and approaches here to help them hone their craft."—James Frey, author of How to Write a Damn Good Novel

"Noah Lukeman keeps laserlike focus on the single most important principle of good writing: creating plot through the characters. The Plot Thickens is a pleasure to read and filled with useful information."—John Truby, Truby's Writer's Studio

"Brilliant. The Plot Thickens literally gears a person up to writing big-themed, deep, humorous, and varied fiction. Personable and very wise, The Plot Thickens made me feel wildly buoyed up with that joy that is particular to fiction writing."—Carol Bly, author of Beyond the Writers' Workshop

"The Plot Thickens is a highly useful book that is written in an accessible style and filled with valuable examples."—The Writer

"Lukeman's personable writing style elevates The Plot Thickens from a text on writing to a written version of the mentor you always wished you could have."—The Midwest Review

"A crisply written, nicely detailed examination of the art of storytelling. Beginning writers will find plenty of practical tips and useful advice in its pages."—Booklist

"[Lukeman] wisely asserts that the observations in this volume are applicable to all types of imaginary writing, from film to poetry. Indeed, it is a worthy addition to any narrative writer's reference shelf."—Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads



Read an Excerpt

Noah Lukeman is a New York literary agent whose clients include multiple winners of the Pulitzer Prize and American Book Award, National Book Award finalists, Edgar Award finalists, New York Times bestselling authors, and the faculty of esteemed universities. He has worked as a manager in Artists Management Group, and is currently president of Lukeman Literary Management Ltd. He is also author of the bestselling The First Five Pages, now part of the curriculum in many universities.
Read the full excerpt


  • Noah Lukeman

  • Noah Lukeman has worked as a manager in Artists Management Group, and is president of Lukeman Literary Management Ltd. He is the author of the bestselling The First Five Pages.
  • Noah Lukeman