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Writing to the Point: A Complete Guide to Selling Fiction 1st Edition
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EDIT (19 Aug 2009): It's been several years since I wrote this review, and I've read the book several times. I'm currently reading the book again, and I felt that this review needed updating.
I still give the book 5-stars. HOWEVER,...
The appendix entitled "Ideas... How They Work and How to Fix Them" is, in my opinion, the most annoying part of the book. It is over-intellectualized into near meaninglessness. A couple of short excerpts will suffice:
"Exactly what happens immediately beyond Gate C is something so complex that we have had to found the entire science of psychology in a thus far only partially successful effort to understand it. But observation indicates that many organisms have been educated to process all data at this point only into storage bins with lawful values. This is 'sinful,' that is not; this is 'good,' that is 'bad'; this is 'allowed,' that is not; etc. A few organisms, however, appear to move data into a different set of processing gates, and the sign over that establishment reads Conditionally Valid. In other words, artists have a Gate Da and, in addition--blush to admit it--Gate Db."
"Different prescriptions suggest themselves for different causes of Gate X failure.Read more ›
Beginning: Must consist of introducing a character, in a particular context, with a problem. And if there are important yet unique/unusual aspects of the character that will be revealed later in the story they must be foreshadowed in the beginning.
Middle: Must involve the character attempting to solve the problem and encountering unexpected failure. During this attempt he begins to learn more about the problem and himself. The character must undergo stress which causes hitherto concealed facets of him to be revealed-that must fit in. The character must try to overcome the problem a total of 3 times on a rising scale of effort, commitment, and depth of knowledge of the problem and one's self. At the last possible moment, with maximum effort and staking everything, he achieves victory. This must be done by wagering everything in a do-or-die situation. Conversely the villain, coming closer to his goal experiences defeat snatched from the jaws of victory-because of some flaw in character.
End: Validation and foreclosure by someone who has no other vested interest in the story. They step forward and say "He's dead, Jim" or "Who was that masked man?" This serves to close the story in the reader's mind.
This short book repeats this pitch over and over and includes some unrelated info that is marginly useful but unrelated to the above points.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An amazing insight to writing strong, solid stories that will sell, from someone who made a career out of doing so. The author is a legendary teacher. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Josh Hill
I've heard the thrust of this book--the seven point short story structure (Character, Setting, Problem, Try, Fail, Climax, Validation)--from several professional writers trying to... Read morePublished 2 months ago by A&A
Best book on writing fiction I have ever read, and I have read plenty. Do yourself a favor, find a copy of this book and read it.Published 13 months ago by T. Darby