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Story Structure: The Key to Successful Fiction (The Red Sneaker Writers Book Series) (Volume 1) Paperback – April 25, 2013

ISBN-13: 978-1484024898 ISBN-10: 1484024893 Edition: 1st

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Story Structure: The Key to Successful Fiction (The Red Sneaker Writers Book Series) (Volume 1) + Perfecting Plot: Charting the Hero's Journey (Red Sneaker Writers Book Series) (Volume 3) + Creating Character: Bringing Your Story to Life (Red Sneaker Writers Books) (Volume 2)
Price for all three: $20.27

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Product Details

  • Series: The Red Sneaker Writers Book Series
  • Paperback: 132 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (April 25, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1484024893
  • ISBN-13: 978-1484024898
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.3 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #283,060 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

William Bernhardt is the bestselling author of more than thirty books, including the blockbuster Ben Kincaid series of legal thrillers. In addition, Bernhardt founded the Red Sneaker Writing Center in 2005, hosting writing workshops and small-group seminars and becoming one of the most in-demand writing instructors in the nation. His programs have educated many authors now published at major New York houses. He holds a Masters Degree in English Literature and is the only writer to have received both the Royden B. Davis Distinguished Author Award (University of Pennsylvania) and the H. Louise Cobb Distinguished Author Award (Oklahoma State), which is given "in recognition of an outstanding body of work that has profoundly influenced the way in which we understand ourselves and American society at large." In addition to the novels, he has written plays, including a musical (book and music), humor, nonfiction books, children books, and crossword puzzles. He also has published many poems and is a member of the American Academy of Poets.

More About the Author

SHINE!!!
Watch the video on this page to find out all about my latest writing project. Every month a new Shine "episode" will be released. This is going to be fun--more proof that being a writer is the best job in the world.

I love my job. Even on the worst day when I can't seem to put together a coherent sentence, I am grateful for having been given this magnificent opportunity to participate in the literary exchange of ideas. My mother says I was telling people I wanted to be a writer when I was seven. I know that seems incredible, but she's my mom, so we have to believe her. I never missed an opportunity to visit the library, which was blissfully near my home, and the librarians there took a great interest in this nerdy, shy, bespectacled kid who kept reappearing almost every day. They encouraged me to read widely and to read the best of everything, and that is exactly what I did and have continued to do all my life.

I sent off my first submission when I was eleven, to Highlights Magazine. This was a poem of which I was particularly proud concerning the Oklahoma Land Run. They turned me down. Yes, that was my first rejection letter. Over the next twenty years, I collected over 400 more of them. No, I'm not exaggerating. I still have them. Every last one. There was a reason, I realize now, why all those compositions were being rejected. They weren't very good. But they improved over time. I didn't know it, but during the entire torturous process of submission and rejection, I was learning how to write.

My first novel was published when I was thirty-one. To some, this may seem an early age to publish, but if you clock it from my first rejection, it took twenty years. That was a great year--my first son, Harry, was born in August, and my first book, Primary Justice, was born in December. The book surprised everyone and the follow-up did even better and before I even realized it I had accomplished my goal--I was a real honest-to-gosh writer. I've been writing ever since. I've written more than twenty novels, edited two anthologies, done two books for children, and published numerous stories, essays, puzzles, and poems. I have three children now, and this job allows me to be present when they come home from school and available when they need me during the day, which is a blessing I could not have anticipated back when I was a seven-year old gazing dreamily at author photos on dust jackets, wishing I could see myself there.

My goals for the future are to continue to learn, to grow, to find new ways of doing my work and doing it better. I've learned that I enjoy teaching, which led to the The Fundamentals of Fiction DVDs, the Red Sneaker Writers book series, and many speaking and teaching engagements throughout the year. My interest in mentoring aspiring writers led me to start the small-group seminars, which allow me to teach my favorite subject all across the nation. And in my personal life, my goal is to be the best parent possible to Harry, Alice, and Ralph. I'm very excited about the future--my personal life with these extraordinary people, and my professional life, creating new stories for you wonderful people who still understand the importance of storytelling and the written word.
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William Bernhardt is the bestselling author of more than thirty novels, including the blockbuster Ben Kincaid series of legal thrillers. In addition, Bernhardt founded the Red Sneaker Writing Center in 2005, hosting writing workshops and small-group seminars and becoming one of the most in-demand writing instructors in the nation. His programs have educated many authors now published at major New York houses. He is also the owner and publisher of Babylon Books. He holds a Masters Degree in English Literature and is the only writer to have received both the Royden B. Davis Distinguished Author Award (University of Pennsylvania) and the H. Louise Cobb Distinguished Author Award (Oklahoma State), which is given "in recognition of an outstanding body of work that has profoundly influenced the way in which we understand ourselves and American society at large." In addition to the novels, he has written plays, including a musical (book and music), humor, nonfiction books, children books, and crossword puzzles. He also has published many poems and is a member of the American Academy of Poets.

Customer Reviews

This book has good, practical advice.
HW
This is great for a beginning writer who knows they have a story to tell but not a good idea how to structure that story (thus the title).
Jennifer
The book is short, which means you can read it in half a day, do the exercises and then get to work.
Allie R.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Traye on May 13, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I own several books on writing, any writer would. I stopped buying them for a while because every one of them said the same thing in different words. A friend of mine told me about a Short Course Seminar, and it was the second time I met Bill. The class is an intense week of work, with a lot of great info, but this book seems to have even a little more than what I learned there. I just finished reading it today so I could give an honest opinion, and it is simply this, buy this book. If you are a writer, serious about your craft, or know someone who is, you need this on your shelf, in your e-reader, or on your computer. Where ever it is, keep it handy, work through the excersizes and let the book work for you. Outlines and structure really have helped me in my craft, and I wish this book would have been in my hands a couple years ago, when I decided that this writing thing is what I wanted to do. The information is all there in black and white, all you need to do is follow along, take notes and apply to your current work in progress. Bill tells it like it is, including a few of my favorite lines, "Writing is hard...." and "Set a schedule and write every day. Treat it like you would any other job you've worked at." I'm paraphrasing a bit, but it's true. I am waiting for the next book, and am glad to be a Red Sneaker Writer! Way to go, Bill! Thanks for this one.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Allie R. on January 9, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is the bee's knees, and I went and bought "perfecting plot" as soon as I'd finished reading it. Of course, a good writer should get started with his writing once he's done reading this book, but I'm a procrastinator, and I'd like to improve both my plot and my structure before getting (re-)started on my current ms.

First, the good:
- The book is affordable, as are the other ones in this series.
- The book is short, which means you can read it in half a day, do the exercises and then get to work.
However, short does not mean "lacking information" it means "to the point". I've read too many short-ish books which felt incomplete, and this isn't one of them. I would definitely recommend it over the other 500pg tomes I've wasted my time on.

Next, the excellent:
- This book has made story structure quite clear in my mind. I think my books will greatly improve in the future thanks to this book. That's really the one thing that matters, and I don't agree with other reviewers who say the information provided is basic. I'd recommend this book to a beginning writer (duh) but also to someone more intermediate who has trouble with middles, or story smoothness and other things like that.

Now, the bad:
- Different people get different mileage out of different things. So I can't guarantee that this book is the one that'll set that light bulb off in your head.
- I'm waiting for the next book to come out. Something on pacing, maybe? Something specifically about mysteries, and structure as it applies to whodunnits? I thought about not writing this review, because I'm a selfish person and don't like announcing when I've found something good. However, I'd like to tell the writer to write another book in this series, hence this review.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By David Sullivan on February 22, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I enjoyed the book, something that doesn't often happen with non-fiction. I knew a lot of what was in the book which thus served to reinforce what I knew. We should periodically review what we know and believe in. I learned a few new things and took several pages of notes.

Easy to read while delivering good material with some occasional humor.

There were a few to several grammar errors and a typo or two. None of them interfered with the learning process. I suppose one can say an author should be studious about editing and proofreading or one can simply smile and say 'oh well' and appreciate the irony.

I'm going in search of other books by this author....
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Barbara Graver on May 18, 2014
Format: Paperback
I'm currently working with a writing book called "Story Structure: The Key to Successful Fiction " by William Bernhardt.

Bernhardt is the prolific and successful author of the Ben Kincaid series and over a dozen other books, including five on novel writing. He is precise, literate and highly insightful. What interests me most about Bernhardt, however, is this - he understands how to communicate what he knows about writing.

Bernhardt's books and workshops teach the students and readers he calls the Red Sneaker Writers how to plot, outline, create conflict, maintain suspense, and develop motivated and memorable characters. Based on my experience so far, his methods are both illuminating and practical.

"Story Structure" is the first book in Bernhardt's concise but highly focused five volume writing series and the only one I have read so far (though I do have the next two - in audio and ebook - stored on my computer and phone).

In the intro to "Story Structure" he says:

"Here in the Red Sneaker universe, we strip away the pretense and abstractions that do more to complicate writing than to illuminate it. In the Red Sneaker School, we provide down-to-earth advice designed to improve the quality of your work."

This could not be more accurate!

Leaving out the lengthy cut and paste quotations employed in most writing books, "Story and Structure" clearly explains the elements of fiction in terms of structure, act, scene, inciting incident, and classical storytelling. When examples are needed, Bernhardt references his own and other works without reproducing them.

This means that the examples provided are helpful without being tedious - or largely unnecessary.
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