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Story Trumps Structure: How to Write Unforgettable Fiction by Breaking the Rules Paperback – May 27, 2014
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About the Author
Critically acclaimed author Steven James has taught on writing craft and creative storytelling all over the world. He has written more than two dozen books that have won over a dozen awards, including two Christy awards for best suspense, The Suspense Zone's Reviewers Choice award, Suspense Magazine's Book of the Year award, four Storytelling World Honor awards, a nomination for an ECPA Gold Medallion Award and two Publisher's Weekly starred reviews.
Top customer reviews
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Mr. James is a fine writer, as I've discovered in reading two of his books--- the knight and the bishop. He demonstrates that what he teaches, he uses, and very well.
A big plus with story trumps structure is the tone he uses. He comes across as warm, friendly, but intelligent.
My collection of how to books on writing must be over a hundred dollars, yet this latest is the crowning jewel,
I have attended several conferences or fiction tracks taught by Steven. I appreciate his writing style and philosophy on crating fiction.
This book was about
The subtitle sums it up - How to Write Unforgettable Fiction. Steven’s love for story-telling and the elements of story are explored in this book. His teaching gives writers freedom from rules to be able to tell the story.
Things I liked about this book
As an organic writer and a lover of story, I’m encouraged by this book to keep digging into my work to allow the true story to come out.
Why you should read this book
The more you read and study about writing fiction, the more confused you can become on what are the best methods to write a book. Steve cuts through the rules and jargon to say let the story tell itself. While it might be challenging for the plotter writer, it is worth listening to what he says. It is very encouraging.
This book lived up to the back cover copy
This is the declaration of independence for storytellers. The back cover says “don’t limit your fiction - liberate it.” Steve gives practically steps and advice to achieving true story telling.
The introduction to the book succinctly says it all. "Anything that gets in the way of readers' engagement and emotional investment in the story is not serving readers." No argument from me on this point. "The number of acts, the type of characters, the symbolism, the mythic elements-- all those things that are trumpeted about in so many writing books and taught as gospel truth at so many writing conferences-- they all need to be determined by the narrative movement of the story, not the other way around." Again, no argument. I just wished the book itself was so succinct.
I did enjoy the digressions throughout to the author's own detective series. Clearly, this is a writing instructor who actively employs the techniques he teaches.
Setting aside the issues I raise in my review, I do believe this book is a worthwhile read for novice writers.
Even if you are a person who keeps historical records of grocery lists, the book still has a lot to offer in terms of broadening your understanding of why certain story elements/decisions work or fall flat. I can't recommend it enough.
I had the amazing honor of being able to hear Steven James dole out some pretty amazing advice in person and it changed everything about how I write.
This book is like a review of that information and that's just a primer.
Full of wisdom and practical advice, no matter your genre, this book is for every writer.
I've read through it so many times I fear I'll wear it out soon.
If you're going to write, you MUST read Story Trumps Structure. Must.
Steven James is not only a master storyteller, but a master mentor. Don't miss out on the best "how to" book out there!