Literary Liaisons

A blog about writing and all things story…

Story, Structure & Style

This is my yard for the last three days. ARG! Snowbound and trapped in a crust of ice. My neighbor’s tree has folded over their fence and is engulfing my garden shed. Oh well, it’s pretty.

There are some benefits to being snowbound with my Brother Clark who was visiting from sunny LA, and who hoped to see some snow, and who is now also snowbound; we have had a ton of time to edit my manuscript, talk about stories, characters and world building. Yeah!!!!!
The opportunity to work with a story wizard who tells and sells stories for a living is golden. However, a few years back when I presented him with a manuscript I’d written, he gently let me know that I wasn’t ready yet. ‘Ready’ as in my writing was still not mature or sophisticated enough to tell the story I was trying to tell. He handed it back to me and said, ‘practice makes perfect’ and suggested that I read the book, Story: Substance, Structure, Style and The Principles of Screenwriting  by Robert Mckee.

So, in addition to the amazing book, I went to Louisa’s Café here in Seattle and started writing with Jack and Bob, two local writing masters that I’ve mentioned a thousand times in my blog – because they are true writing gurus.  They teach a template for how to write fiction: Story first, Structure second, and Style third.
These things have changed my writing dramatically.

THIS time, Clark is excited and loves my book. YEAH!!!!!! Still I have lots of work, but YEAH!!!!! In my business career I always believed I had to sit at the feet of the masters to learn, grow and become successful. It’s the same in writing. I’m learning, growing and continuing on my path. And with some skilled guidance and direction I just may make it. How about you: who is your guru, what books have illuminated your story telling, whose work do you read that informs your writing? Share it with us and I’ll post it for others who are still searching. Thanks! Keep writing and remember it’s a life long apprenticeship.

One comment on “Story, Structure & Style

  1. Stephen Hayes
    January 20, 2012

    I've taken several seminars, most notably one taught by David Morrell who invented Rambo and is considered the father of the action adventure. Next week I'm beginning a fiction critique class with Jessica Morrell (strange same last name) on fiction critiquing. I've brought my action adventure "Return of the Mary Celeste" as far as I can without help so I hope this class makes my manuscript more marketable.

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This entry was posted on January 20, 2012 by in Basic story structure, clark kohanek, Robert Mckee, style.
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