More surgery

Slicing and dicing the story some more.  I have been reading Larry Brooks’ book, “Story Engineering” (link to the right).  His credentials:  He developed this writing structure based on the format mandated to screenwriters.  Then he wrote his first story using his structure.  The first draft was submitted to a division of Penguin Books.  It was accepted without edits.  First draft, first query, no edits.  His next four novels followed the same path.

He describes the four sections of the plot, which corresponds to the four stages of the character arc.  He gives the milestones, checklists, etc to follow.  He then uses published stories as his examples, including “The DaVinci Code”, “500 Days of Summer”, and others.  It isn’t a formula.  It isn’t outlining.  He compares it to the engineering principles that are used when architects design the latest modern building designs.

So, what does that have to do with anything?  As I go through, I recognize where I succeed, and where I need to improve.  I intend to hang TPtP from the structure described in this book and make it fit in.  It’s funny, because every place in the story that I was unsure of, I can recognize what I did wrong within his method.

All of which is a long way of saying that I am dissecting the story again, and reworking portions of it.  Better foreshadowing, establish Mirian’s stakes early, give her some goals, and re-tool the resolution a bit.  With luck, TPtP will be better for it.

Thanks for sticking with.  I definitely recommend the the book, and if anyone wants to discuss it, drop me a note.  I linked to  it on the side.  Yes, I have an affiliate link in there as well.




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3 responses to “More surgery

  1. I absolutely agree with you about story structure, and Larry Brooks was one of the first to introduce me to it. I went on to discover Syd Field’s and Blake Snyder’s books about structure, which are fantastic as well. If I ever get a firm grip on this, I want to deconstruct movies the way Larry’s done on his web site (I’m still grappling with some of the finer points.)

    And Larry’s books, BTW, are incredible. He’s like a darker, more twisted Harlan Coben. Great reading and impossible to outguess.

  2. I may have to go check out those other books as well.

    I have started deconstructing movies that my kids watch, since Disney seems to be completely formulaic in their new content. It’s embarrassingly easy to do.

  3. Geez, I thought you were having actual surgery 🙂 Glad you’re just dissecting your story. Don’t cut up Mirian too badly–she does enough of that herself 😉

    I’m sure it will turn out well. Excited to see the results.

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