This book is helpful in such a practical way, I went through it like a workbook. Every few pages, I'd stop and return to my story to work on it, usingThis book is helpful in such a practical way, I went through it like a workbook. Every few pages, I'd stop and return to my story to work on it, using what I learned and the notes I'd taken.
The book is broken up into sections for each of the story competencies. The Concept section is especially helpful, in a practical way. Although I understood that concept was more than a story idea, I now have criteria for assessing story concepts for their viability. The idea of writing "what if?" questions for each of the Plot Points is genius. I applied it to my work in progress and it showed me how the story concept had followed through in the story outline.
The Character section is phenomenal. It improved my characters in my WIP as I read. I found where my hero's arc was lacking. Even more so for my villain. The idea that people are driven by resentment struck me. It laid a clear path for character development for my antagonist. Also helped my structure -- not too much backstory in Part 1!
The Structure section could have been old hat, as I've read his ebook and been a regular reader of his blog for over a year. But it had so much more. Details on foreshadowing, on stakes, on all of it. It wasn't a rerun. For many, this will be the newest part, and he takes time to explain all of it.
I couldn't wait to get to the section on Scene, because I'm in revision right now, and I felt I really needed that section. I gained clarity on the idea of mission and pacing for a scene. Characterization can be a secondary mission for a scene, but not the primary. I'm now able to identify scenes that have no purpose but "characterization" and get them some purpose or send them packing! (Although I still wonder if foreshadowing counts as moving the story forward enough to be considered a mission in itself.) The revelation of the cut-and-thrust technique is phenomenal. I now aim to end as many scenes as possible this way, and I'm using the scene checklist for every scene!
The section on Writing Voice was comforting and perhaps the least new. It's more of a message of 'don't sweat it,' similar to the message from his blog. 'Less is more' got the message across well and is easy way to remember it.
The Beat Sheet section was a helpful review of that wonderful tool, less new since I learned it first at his blog. I have a beat sheet for my WIP, but I was glad to be reminded that I can compare it to a similar published example to help me figure out what is missing.
Overall, this book reads like a workbook, with such practical advice and tools, it will be reread by many readers, I'm sure....more
Previously I read this book for the short story by Kat Richardson. This time I read the Jim Butcher short for the Dresden Files, "The Warrior." This sPreviously I read this book for the short story by Kat Richardson. This time I read the Jim Butcher short for the Dresden Files, "The Warrior." This short story was a satisfying follow up to the end of Small Favor. We see another side to Michael that he'd never shown before. We also see a bit about how other powers view Harry and his efforts, which so often go unappreciated.
And I've found my favorite Harry Dresden quote yet. It sums up Harry perfectly: "Harry Dresden. Saving the world one random act of destruction at a time."
That's Harry Dresden, in a dozen words or so....more