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Story Trumps Structure: How to Write Unforgettable Fiction by Breaking the Rules

Story Trumps Structure: How to Write Unforgettable Fiction by Breaking the Rules


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Don't limit your fiction - LIBERATE IT

All too often, following the "rules" of writing can constrict rather than inspire you. With Story Trumps Structure, you can shed those rules - about three-act structure, rising action, outlining, and more - to craft your most powerful, emotional, and gripping stories.

Award-winning novelist Steven James explains how to trust the narrative process to make your story believable, compelling, and engaging, and debunks the common myths that hold writers back from creating their best work.

   • Ditch your outline and learn to write organically.
   • Set up promises for readers - and deliver on them.
   • Discover how to craft a satisfying climax.
   • Master the subtleties of characterization.
   • Add mind-blowing twists to your fiction.

When you focus on what lies at the heart of story - tension, desire, crisis, escalation, struggle, discovery - rather than plot templates and formulas, you'll begin to break out of the box and write fiction that resonates with your readers. Story Trumps Structure will transform the way you think about stories and the way you write them, forever.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781599636511
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/27/2014
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 307,620
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.90(d)

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.

Table of Contents

Foreword 1

Introduction 4

Part I The Essence of Story 5

Chapter 1 Desire: The Ceiling Fan Principle and What It Means for Storytellers 6

Chapter 2 Orientation: The Eight Aspects Every Story Opening Will Include 15

Chapter 3 Crisis/Calling: Story Origins, Resolutions, and the Three Levels of Struggles 37

Chapter 4 Escalation: Adding Complications and Weeding Out Repetition 53

Chapter 5 Discovery: Crafting a Satisfying Climax 68

Chapter 6 Change: How Situations and Characters Are Transformed by Conflict 75

Part II Secrets to Organic Writing 85

Chapter 7 Responsiveness: Eight Secrets to Discarding Your Outline to Write Better Stories 86

Chapter 8 Emergence: The Three Questions That Will Solve Every "Plot Problem" You'll Ever Have 110

Chapter 9 Awareness: How Context Determines Content 124

Part III Story Progression 131

Chapter 10 Twists: Practical Steps to Pulling the Rug Out 132

Chapter 11 Promises: The Keys to Building Suspense and Satisfying Your Readers 145

Chapter 12 Scenes: Mastering Setbacks, Interludes, and Subtext 159

Part IV The Narrative Forces That Shape Our Stories 177

Chapter 13 Causality: How the Contingent Nature of Stories Affects Every Sentence You Write 178

Chapter 14 Believability: Removing Coincidences and Sustaining Belief 188

Chapter 15 Expectations: Working with Overlapping Genres 197

Chapter 16 Continuity: How Narrative Momentum Carries Stories Forward 208

Chapter 17 Fluidity: The Interplay of Pace, Flow, Narrative Time, and Flashbacks 212

Chapter 18 Polish: Touching Up Your Story 221

Chapter 19 Dilemmas: Creating Moral Quandaries for Your Characters 226

Chapter 20 Meaning: Telling the Truth About the World 235

Part V Subtleties of Characterization 245

Chapter 21 Status: What No One Is Teaching You About Characterization 246

Chapter 22 Attitude: Quirks, Idiosyncrasies, and the Difference Between Intention and Motivation 257

Chapter 23 Depth: Revelation vs. Transformation 270

Part VI Plot Flaws and How to Fix Them 278

Chapter 24 Incongruities: How to Tackle Problem Spots in Your Fiction 279

Chapter 25 Gimmicks: Common Traps Authors Fall into and What to Do About Them 288

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