PLOT GENIE -- The Writer's Friend!



Introducing the Plot Genie

“With the aid of the Plot Genie, one does not have to wait for a rare flash of inspiration for a story. The Genie will provide a complete plot framework every five minutes, and I can show any author where it could have developed the plot structure of any story he ever wrote.” — Wycliffe A. Hill, “Plot Genie: General Index”

With those brave words, the world was introduced to Plot Genie ...

The origins of the book read like pulp fiction itself. Wycliffe A. Hill had been kicking around Hollywood when one of his motion picture scripts was returned by the great director Cecil B. DeMille. "...Although an interesting narrative," DeMille wrote, "it contains no dramatic plot."

Apparently, Hill vowed to avenge the death (or rejection) of this screenplay and dedicated his life to the pursuit of "this thing called Plot." It's anyone's guess as to what flew in through his window, but he was inspired to created his book containing lists of plot elements, characters, and settings, and invented the cardboard Plot Robot wheel to accompany it.

Some pulp authors dismissed it. Others turned to it for occasional assistance. A few even modified it (and other plot generating devices) to accommodate their particular needs. During the Depression, when newsstands were filled with pulp magazines, and every magazine sported at least one short story, Plot Genie might have seemed like a ray of hope to struggling, unemployed citizens. Purchase a book for five dollars (which was like spending seventy-five in those days), dash off a few lines, and tell the bank to stand by for your deposits.

Plot Genie and its brethren inspired a clever scene in Blonde Inspiration (1941). It was directed by Busby Berkeley, renown for his musical numbers. Here's a link to YouTube page with the scene: Blonde Inspiration: How To Write Successful Fiction: Plotting. To learn more about Plot Genie, and similar devices from the Pulp Era, we recommend "Help For Writing Your Yarns" by Edward J. Wood. You'll find many other interesting articles at ThePulp.net.


Download the Plot Robot (TM)

The Plot Robot was a cardboard wheel, secreted behind a full-page cardboard illustration of a genie guiding an aspiring writer. Random numbers were visible through a tiny cut-out window in the crystal ball illustration. Each Plot Genie book contains a "formula," with an average of nine steps to plot construction. Jot down your random numbers in each space, then consult the corresponding pages to determine the plot structure of your story.

These cardboard wheels are rare, moreso than the Plot Genie books themselves. They were inserted into the published books, not bound against the cover, making them infinitely easier to lose. Apparently the publishers designed one wheel for use with all supplemental volumes. Quantity is king in publishing, even today, and production costs might have been prohibitive for custom wheels. Thus, the Action-Advenure supplemental volume was not accompanied by a Plot Robot featuring a pith-helmeted genie.

Those prohibitve costs frightened the bean-counters at Bold Venture Press. We struck upon the happy idea of creating a Plot Robot in PDF format. Download the two-page document.Once you print it, using some thick paper, all you'll need is a scissors and paper fastener. You can also use an online "Random Number Generator." Bold Venture Press may release a wheel for purchase in the near future. In the meantime, use the Plot Robot download to create your own pulp fiction yarns!

Click here to download the two-page "Plot Robot."

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Plot Genie Index
by Wycliffe A. Hill

First in the PLOT GENIE (TM) series!

THIS is the fabled tome that inspired Gillian Conoley's novel The Plot Genie. You've heard the tall tales -- Now it's time to write your own tall tales!

The book lists hundreds of locales, characters, dramatic situations, and plot twists. When used in conjunction with the Plot Robot (TM), a cardboard spinner wheel imprinted with "random" numbers, the author promised it would generate enough ideas to keep an author busy for years.

The Plot Genie was out-of-print for decades, and commanded high prices on the rare book market. Now you can own it for a fraction of the cost of an original. Don't worry -- If Wycliffe A. Hill's claims are reliable, you'll immediately make back the cost by writing best-selling fiction!

Plot Genie Index
ISBN-13: 978-1503255944
150 pages, $19.95

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Plot Genie: Romance
Supplemental Formula #1

by Wycliffe A. Hill

When director Cecil B. DeMille criticized his screenplay, Hill dedicated himself to the relentless pursuit of “this thing called ‘Plot.’” In subsequent years, he developed and refined his Plot Robot™ before unveiling The Plot Genie™ to an eager writing public. After developing The Plot Genie Index™, Hill turned his attention to that most popular genre — romance! This exciting supplement targeted the creation of romantic stories without melodrama.

This volume features all the essential elements, as defined by Hill, for writing romantic yarns -- The Lover, The Beloved-Locale, The Rival, The Love Obstacle, The Supporting Character, Traits of Supporting Character, Effort to Win, Threatened Defeat, and How Love is Lost or Won.

If writing romance makes you swoon, you’ll fall in love with Plot Genie: Romance™!

Plot Genie: Romance
ISBN-13: 978-1505580174
128 pages, $19.95

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Plot Genie: Action-Adventure
Supplemental Formula #2

by Wycliffe A. Hill

Action! Adventure! Those words quicken the pulses of pulp fiction fans! But could writers tasked with filling those magazines provide the suspense that readers craved? Like a hero swooping to the rescue, The Plot Genie: Action-Adventure supplement rescues readers (and writers) from dull story-telling!

In this second Plot Genie supplement, Hill presents nine basic "plot requisites" to crafting action-adventure stories: Protagonist; Adventure; Obstacle; Colorful Action; Further Complication; "Opponent Plots to"; Position of Jeopardy; Daring Effort; and Spectacular Climax.

Grab a pith helmet and .45 automatic — embark on your next writing adventure!

Plot Genie: Action-Adventure
ISBN-13: 978-1508559221
134 pages, $19.95

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Plot Genie: Detective-Mystery
Supplemental Formula #3

by Wycliffe A. Hill

Authors undertake a difficult task when they attempt to create a compelling mystery that “plays fair” with readers. The Plot Genie: Detective-Mystery supplement can aide you, like a loyal sidekick and raconteur!

In this volume, Wycliffe A. Hill presents nine sections, each with various sub-sections — Type of crime, victim, perpetrator, clues and red herrings, motives — to create a layered and complex puzzle to challenge readers. With this special supplement to the Plot Genie, creating a baffling and exciting mystery/detective yarn is an elementary task!

Plot Genie: Detective-Mystery
ISBN-13:  978-1511696258
162 pages, $19.95
Kindle book: $2.99

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Plot Genie: Comedy
Supplemental Formula #4

by Wycliffe A. Hill

It takes a smart person to play the fool — and an even smarter person to build the story of the fool! But Comedy challenges more authors than any other genre. What may seem hilarious to an author, in the solitude of their study, might be unfunny and offensive to audiences.

After developing The Plot Genie™, inventor and author Wycliffe Hill undertook the serious task of writing comedy. His ingeneous Plot Robot offered to guide authors in the proper direction, and send readers into hysterics.

For those brave enough to undertake comedy writing, The Plot Genie: Comedy edition promises to ease the burden -- but be warned, that this Plot Genie edition is one of the most complicated. For starters, it's a massive 320 pages -- TWICE the size of other Plot Genie editions. Hill breaks the book into three sections, with various lists and situations, and some rather involved analysis of the science and psychology of laughter. Some modern readers may actually find the lists offensive andor insulting, but be forewarned and try to read the material in the spirit in which it was presented.

Plot Genie: Comedy
ISBN-13:  978-1514352397
326 pages, $19.95
Kindle book: Coming Soon!

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Plot Genie: Short-Short Story
Supplemental Formula #6

by Wycliffe A. Hill

Writing / Educational Aid

The “Short-Short Story” was popularized in magazines of the era like Collier’s, which squeezed short stories to a single page. Designed for light entertainment and fast reading, this form of story-telling is becoming more popular as reader’s attention spans are divided between an ever-increasing information overload.

Use this Plot Genie supplement to tell the basics—brisk plots, fast characterizations, an economy of words. Get in, get out—that’s the modern way, and satisfying readers is the Plot Genie way!

* This Plot Genie supplemental formula is unique since it includes fiction -- actual "short-short stories" from magazines like Collier's and Liberty, as examples of the form.

Plot Genie: Short-Short Story
ISBN-13: 9781515379027
134 pages, $19.95


Kindle eBook: $2.99

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Plot Genie: True Confession
Supplemental Formula #5
(coming soon)
by Wycliffe A. Hill

The tabloid tale, one of the newest forms of literary expression, is becoming increasingly popular. On account of its peculiar limitations it requires a different manner of presentation from any of the other story types. This latest formula provides a plot which combines dramatic simplicity with the "surprise twist" which is so necessary an element in the "short story."

Once again, Wycliffe A. Hill has distilled the essence of plot building and story-telling into a comprehensive volume. A fascinating genre unto itself, the true confession has also been incorporated into mystery, science fiction, western, romance, and other genres. When used effectively, the fiction practitioner can deliver exciting confession stories that tease and please the eager audience.

Plot Genie: Short-Short Story
(Coming soon) $19.95

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