This post is a continuation of my “Best advice I’ve learned” series inspired from this book:
STORY ENGINEERING, by Larry Brooks.
A summay: STORY ENGINEERING defines 6 Core Competencies for novelists and screenwriters. Those are:
- Concept Living, breathingA cozy mystery can be high concept, as can a romance. It’s just that the high concept bar isn’t all that high in these genres in comparison to others.
Brooks, Larry (2012-01-01). Story Engineering (p. 50). F+W Media, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
- Character There’s very little about writing that’s more common, boringly predominant, and patently obvious than the vast oeuvre of advice on characterization. Our characters need to be rich, deep, and compelling, and miles distanced from stereotype. Okay, we get that. Still, character stumps and challenges us.
Brooks, Larry (2012-01-01). Story Engineering (p. 54). F+W Media, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
- Theme Have you ever put down a novel or walked out of a theater and thought to yourself, what the hell was that about?” Probably not. Agents and editors and script readers experience that moment all the time, but the reading and moviegoing public is shielded from that response by virtue of the work these folks put into the finished product. A well-told story, the kind that gets published or made into a film, usually doesn’t elicit such a response. As an intelligent reader or viewer you intuitively know what it was about, and usually on two levels: It was about the plot … and, in a different experiential context, it was about what the story means. The latter is called theme. It is one of the Six Core Competencies of successful writing in general, and storytelling in particular. Because great stories, the kind that turn their authors into A-list brand names, have both realms in play.
Brooks, Larry (2012-01-01). Story Engineering (p. 117). F+W Media, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
- Structure (Setup, Plot Point 1, Midpoint, & Second, Third Plot Points)screenwriting, there are no precise and rigid structural “rules” when it comes to writing novels. Especially if you don’t like the sound of the word rules, in which case you may reject even the hint of a baseline structural paradigm. But in today’s commercial fiction market there are expectations and proven techniques that are accepted as fundamental principles, and if you want to publish your novel you will have to honor them. Or at least you’ll learn to do so when enough rejection slips collect in that desk drawer you rarely open because, like looking at your latest IRA balance, it makes you nauseous.
Brooks, Larry (2012-01-01). Story Engineering (p. 131). F+W Media, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
- Scene Execution
- Writing Voice
One part that must have a role in the whole “picture”.
A story is a sum of many scenes
The critical context of understanding the difference between story structure and story architecture is to accept that structure is a subset of story architecture. In order to have solid story architecture you must first create an underlying structure … plus a bunch of other stuff.
Brooks, Larry (2012-01-01). Story Engineering (p. 137). F+W Media, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
Know what your goal is–keep your eye on it – More to come from one of my favorite reads – Writing & Selling the YA Novel by K.L Going