- File Size: 6331 KB
- Print Length: 59 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: PenForASword Publishing (February 4, 2016)
- Publication Date: February 4, 2016
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01BHE3HXE
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,172 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
|Digital List Price:||$3.99|
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5 Secrets of Story Structure: How to Write a Novel That Stands Out (Helping Writers Become Authors Book 6) Kindle Edition
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I understand that "5 Secrets of Story Structure" is basically a teaser for the author's other books on book writing, and as that, I have to commend Weiland for giving away the entire outline: this book stands on its own, and you can apply the lessons to your writing without having to get her other offerings.
The drawback (and the reason for only 4 stars) is that the book relies heavily on television and movies for its examples of why the standard story structure works. To be fair, the examples used all have engaging stories, but for now, I'll be looking for the structure in literature before agreeing that this structure is present in novels that "work." Without doubt, this is a solid formula for script writing, or for writing a novel that you hope will be turned into a movie; the jury is still out on literature as a whole, though.
Overall, it's worth your time, and not simply because it won't take up much of your time. Give it a quick read, apply what you can.
Reviewed by C J Singh (Berkeley, California)
In the opening chapter, Weiland presents a 5-minute summary of her book “Structuring Your Novel” and the companion “Workbook.” A thoughtful refresher on the Inciting Incident, the three plot points and the two pinch points, cited from Syd Fields' pioneering Screenplay book.
The second chapter begins with the author's candid acknowledgement that this supplement clarifies the crucial concept of the Inciting Incident, which she now recognizes was explained rather vaguely: “What is important isn’t so much nailing down your Inciting Event to a specific place in the story, as it is presenting the Inciting Event at the optimal moment. Sometimes that means throwing the Inciting Event at readers right away, and sometimes that means holding off a bit.” Yes, that was vague. And the clarification in this supplement: “The most important thing that you can take away form this chapter is this: There isn’t just one moment that can be called ‘the inciting event.’ There are three.”
Weiland suggests that Inciting Events comprise the Hook -- "the opening scene, possibly even the first line"; the Turning Point --12% mark of the book – "the match is officially lit and held over the tinder of the conflict”; and the First Plot Point -- 25% mark. However, Weiland then chooses to discard the term the Turning Point and calls it the Inciting Event, presumably because all of the points—the plot as well as pinch points are also turning points.
The third chapter explains the Key Event and the First Plot Point as not the same but as “two distinct and important sides of the same coin.” She examples this by apt citations from Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol” and other stories.
The fourth chapter explains the two Pinch Points: “To use your Pinch Points to their maximum potential, you need to make certain that they create distinct moments that influence every scene leading up to their subsequent Plot Points.” Weiland examples them by citations from Henry James’s classic novella “The Turn of the Screw” and other stories.
The fifth chapter explains the Midpoint: “After the reactive period in the First Half of the Second Act, the Midpoint happens and along with it the Moment of Truth. This is where everything changes for the protagonist… provides him with a new understanding of the conflict… suddenly he gets it.” Reactive no more, he starts acting.
The sixth chapter explains building up from the Third Plot Point (‘the darkest moment for your character’) to the Climactic Moment and Resolution. Weiland examples this by citing from Victor Hugo’s classic, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” Frank Capra’s classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” and other stories.
Will this 60-page e-book help me in drafting my work-in-progress. Yes.
Five shining stars.
I read 5 Secrets of Story Structure the first time in less than an hour. Where was this book when I was in the dark? It is by far the most easily understood, best explanation of Story Structure I have read and I own about 90 books on writing craft including a number of KMW's. I strongly recommend it to anyone who wants to improve their understanding of how to craft a story.