Story Trumps Structure: How to Write Unforgettable Fiction by Breaking the Rules
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 narra...more
I read this book because I have read a handful of books on storywriting from a structural point of view, and I wanted to balance that with a book from a non-outlin ...more
This would have been a five star for me, except for two specific issues.
I underst ...more
At first, I'll admit that I was unimpressed. It didn't seem like anything that I hadn't heard before and a lot of the author's advice didn't seem relevant to the stories I want to tell. However, once the information had time to digest within my brain, I realized there was more there than I had first thought! In fact, only two days after finishing the book I was referring to it to help me revise the opening of my current WIP. I highly recommend this book! ...more
I bought the paperback, but now plan on purchasing the Kindle version as well. No kidding. I want to be able to highlight and take copious notes-but I don't like doing that to the paperback books in my library. On the other hand, Kindle books seem to get lost in the shuffle with me, so it's nice to ...more
It's full of practical, applicable advice in a digestible format. I'll definitely be keeping this on hand, and I encourage any novelist to pick up a copy.
I disagree with some of James's points, particul ...more
For example (I’m paraphrasing):
OUTLINE RULE: ...more
Very cynical toward structure and outlines. James describes outlining as "not a whole lot of fun, and a very artificial way to approach an art form—sort of like telling an artist to use a paint-by numbers approach."
He describes the supposedly mocking attitude of Big Outlining toward discovery writing in a tone of disbelief, and sa ...more
Steven James' book is about "organic writing" where the narrative shapes the story. I found the book to be amazing. Among many other things, I loved the part about the three questions that can solve every plot problem you may ever have.
He talks about narrative forces that shape your story. Also, I loved his chapter on the "subtle ...more
In other words—as the author puts it himself—he doesn't fulfill his promises.
And it is kind of disappointing. Though, again, if he skipped that first part about breaking the rules, it would be a great book on the craft of writing. ...more
Does your writing stall out halfway through a plot? Do outlines overwhelm, frustrate, or confuse you? (Or do they simply suck the joy out of your writing pra ...more
His latest novel, SYNAPSE, a near-future thriller, was a finalist for an International Book Award in the sci-fi category.
Suspense Magazine, who named Steven’s book EVERY WICKED MAN one of their “Best Books of 2018,” says that he “sets the new s ...more