A blog about writing and all things story…
I just added a new ‘must have’ book to my writer’s craft book shelf.
Ever wonder why tv shows like The Bachelor or books made into movies like the Hunger Games attract such large audiences? Can you spell ‘vicarious experience’?
Larry Brooks can.
In Larry Brooks’s new writing craft book, Story Physics he helps writers expand their understanding of the nuances of storytelling (like the ‘vicarious experience’) , bridging the often bewildering ‘theory’ to application. Do terms like, narrative strategy, theme, concept, story structure leave you befuddled? Do ‘craft’ books bore you to tears? I ask this because I’ve experienced both of those problems and I always wonder if I’m alone in the universe. Anyway, Brooks clearly explains elements of craft in Story Physics, and with his personal and humorous style, he makes it an enjoyable read. With one liners like, “When this happens consistently in a story, the whole thing may already be wearing a toe tag.” Pg 128. OR pg 130, “Dramatic tension vs plot. Back in the days when the first storytellers were spinning tales over a fire and the carcass of a yak, the word rhetoric was pronounced blah blah blah. Which is what the unenlightened writer still hears. Don’t be that guy.”
Using and building on his popular teachings of the ‘six core competencies of storytelling’ from his previous bestselling book, Story Engineering, Brooks explains, in clear concise language, what the theories are and how to apply them in the development of your story in order to create a compelling narrative and an engaging experience for your readers.
Many writers pooh-pooh the idea of having a strategy when they create, but Brooks explains how having a strategy will make your creative endeavor go much smoother and faster, and in the end result in an effective and more competitive book in the marketplace. And I have to say, I’m a convert to this way of thinking.
Just by completing the ‘9-sentences’ exercise on page 140 that identifies your story hook, set-up, first plot point, and more, you’ll already have a strategy and a better story. Brooks applies the 9-sentence exercise to the structure of The Hunger Games and it really helps to grasp the concept and nail it down so you can use it in your own work. This is a story-saving tool.
In Story Physics, Brooks generously shares other devices and tools like the beat sheet on page 146, and so much more. I learn best by seeing examples, so these helped me a great deal.
In Story Physics, Brooks walks, talks, and guides you through it so you, too, can create a masterpiece.
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