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Story Engineering Paperback – February 24, 2011
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"If you've been searching for an accessible, well-reasoned explanation of how the story building process works, look no further. Here is the roadmap you need to understanding the craft of writing." --Terry Brooks, author of more than twenty five bestselling novels including The Sword of Shannara
"Story Engineering is a master class in novel writing. Reading it is like getting an MFA, without the pesky admissions process or student loans. This book will make you smarter about the craft. Period." --Chelsea Cain, New York Times Bestselling author of Heartsick, Sweetheart, and Evil at Heart
"Larry Brooks's Story Engineering is a brilliant instructional manual for fiction writers that covers what the author calls the `Six Competencies of Successful Storytelling.' The author presents a story telling model that keeps the writer focused on creating a dynamic living and breathing story form concept to the `beat sheet' plan, through story structure and writings scenes. It's a wonderful guide for the beginner and a great refresher for the pro. I guarantee this book will give you new ways to fire up your creativity." --Jim Frey, author of How to Write a Damn Good Novel
"A useful guide explaining how to transfer screenwriting techniques to the craft of novel-writing. Good for screenwriters, too, summarizing the essence of entertaining commercial storytelling with great clarity." --Christopher Vogler, author of The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers
"Larry Brooks' groundbreaking book offers both novelists and screenwriters a model for storytelling that is nothing short of brilliant in its simplicity, its depth, its originality and its universality. Following his unique process is guaranteed to elevate your writing to the highest professional level." --Michael Hauge, author of Writing Screenplays That Sell, and Selling Your Story in 60 Seconds
About the Author
Larry Brooks is a critically acclaimed best-selling author of six psychological thrillers (including Darkness Bound, Pressure Points, Serpents Dance and others), in addition to his work as a freelance writer and writing instructor. He is the creator and editor of Storyfix.com, one of the leading instructional writing sites on the internet. His website is www.storyfix.com.
Top customer reviews
Story Engineering delivered, provided the missing ingredient. The book was worth the money spent and the time spent. I'm hopeful and excited to put his methods into use.
That said, this book was truly painful to read. The Six Competencies were buried in extraneous pontifications, excessive rebuttal of his critics, and attitude--like his deep seated bias for certain types of writing. To make maters worse, these lectures, defenses, and opinions were repeated ad nauseam in each and every section. My head hurts from trying to sift out the wheat buried in all that chaff.
It's apparent that Mr. Brooks has a chip on his shoulder that he's extremely touchy about. He's obviously received strong ego-crushing criticisms of his storytelling method. He wastes pages endlessly trying to convince us that his method is the only real way to write successfully. Failure to use his structure means you will NOT get published. The organic writers, and other pantsers, who have still gotten published are using his structure but by different name. Okay, good to know, but this message was received in first chapter. Fine, reiterate it occasionally to drive the point home. But he replays this defense over and over even within chapters.
Hey, we had already bought and are reading the book! The author's job was now to present and teach us the method clearly and concisely, and then step back and let the reader/writer fly, or not. Writers will either buy into the structure or they won't. Sledgehammering writers on the head repeatedly won't make the doubters change their minds. Interestingly, one of the Six Competencies is Voice, yet the author's words conveyed the importance of finding the right balance in your writing Voice with his Voice--the antithesis of what he teaches. I found his Voice prickly, defensive, and rather arrogant in his opinions and biases--more suited for a dictator or a football coach.
To sum up, I believe Larry Brooks has given me priceless information and therefore highly recommend reading this book. BUT, I wish the text could be put through the "Reader's Digest-Condensed Novel" colander to sift out the excessive chaff. Then it would be the truly useful tool I believed the author intended it to be.
well worth your time to find out for yourself-- and I hope you do.
Before I began writing this review I quickly scanned the others. And I could not believe they weren't all five stars. But I noticed something else, too. Some of the authors who rated Story Engineering five stars are bestselling authors and teachers themselves. That should tell you something right there. The ones who gave less than five-- well, they obviously don't "get it" or don't take their work seriously enough to put in the time and effort. Hey, no one ever said writing would be easy. If you're okay with being mediocre than don't waste your time. But if you want to be the best-- Buy. This. Book! It all comes down to this: How bad do you want it? Personally, nothing could make me waver on my dream. Dreams are how we grow as writers. They're what drive us to work harder. Or in this case, work smarter. With this piece of writerly heaven my dreams are now not only possible but achievable. There's no limit for me! Why? Because I found Story Engineering. My life is forever changed. I only wish I could somehow repay the author for what he's done for me. But alas, I cannot. What I can do is be the best darn author I can be and when my name IS on the top of NY Times Bestsellers' list-- I can tell everyone how it got there. Which first started with this buying Story Engineering. I cannot express in words how incredible it is. It feels like I've been wearing a foggy pair of glasses and now, they've been replaced with clear ones. Even more than that. Replaced by a crystal ball because now I can see deeper into my story, to where the heart and soul lies-- in all its glory and wonder. I can now deconstruct my novels and make them better, make them more than, turn them into something incredible. In case you're wondering, I've written four novels and two others are almost complete, so I'm not some doe-eyed newbie with visions of grandeur. I've been writing for years. I only wish I discovered this early on. I could have saved myself so much time and heartbreak. Please, do yourself a favor and buy this book. What do you have to lose? I devoured it in 24 hours, because I could not put it down. And I've never been able to say that--even with a heart-thumping thriller. I simply cannot express the magic in these pages, the magic of the Six Core Competencies, character theme, scene structure, etc. etc. And the author's voice-- WOW. So empowering. So inspirational. His passion is infectious. For this little bit of money you owe yourself this book. I'll stop rambling now so you can press the "buy" button. Happy writing!
Whether you're a plotter or pantser, structure is critical in a novel, and Story Engineering is the how-to book to achieve that. It's not cookie-cutter, and it won't fence in your writing. Rather it will give your story a base to make sure everything else you add to it shines, from characterization to setting to a page-turning climax. This is undoubtedly my favorite book on the craft of writing.
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