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The Story Equation: How to Plot and Write a Brilliant Story from One Powerful Question (Brilliant Writer Series)
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The Story Equation: How to Plot and Write a Brilliant Story from One Powerful Question

(Brilliant Writer #1)

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  176 ratings  ·  37 reviews
Discover The Story Equation!

One question can unlock your entire story! Are you struggling to build a riveting plot? Layered characters? How about fortify that saggy middle? Create that powerful ending?

You can build an entire book by asking one powerful question, and then plugging it into an “equation” that makes your plot and characters come to life. You’ll learn how t
Kindle Edition, 140 pages
Published October 11th 2016 by My Book Therapy
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Average rating 4.27  · 
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 ·  176 ratings  ·  37 reviews

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Emma Sea
Jun 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars
Feb 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book that emphasizes the character's inner journey through fears, flaws, lies they tell themselves, and eventually the cause -- a big dark moment from their past that should only be revealed later in the story. This sets up for the ever-elusive, but oh so important cathartic ending, when the self-lie is put to rest, fears are overcome, and the hero has developed a new worldview.

Whether you've incorporated story models such as Chris Vogler's The Writer's Journey, Blake Snyder's Save the
Lynn Hortel
Jun 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
This made sense to me.
Carrie Daws
Aug 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent! Susan May Warren breaks down the entire fiction planning process into easily understandable and achievable steps to build incredible characters and a believable plot. I've got so many notes! Although I know I'll use all I learned to strengthen current works in progress, I can't wait until I have a brand new project to start using her concepts from the beginning. ...more
Beverly McCall
Jun 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed Susan May Warren's book, The Story Equation, and found it very helpful. After reading it, I have a better understanding of the narrative story arc. I like the way she broke it up into 4 acts. Her explanation was clear and concise. I particularly thought the examples she provided very helpful in illustrating her points for each of the acts. I am using the information learned here to help me with the writing of my next book. ...more
Sep 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, kindle
I thought this was an excellent resource for any writers wanting to learn to write authentic, lovable characters and have them drive your story. Susan May Warren teaches you how to weave together an internal character arc with an external character journey for maximum impact and enjoyment for your readers. I learned a lot and look forward to trying out her suggestions!

I loved this quote and feel it a wonderful inspiration for all writers: "A great book leaves the character and reader both healed
Mar 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I've been reading a lot of writing craft books lately for a course I'm doing. Some of them I'd read before, but a lot of them contain content I've read before or come across in other classes, workshops, ect, so I was starting to get a little bored (still diligently taking notes though because you never know what tiny fragment might prove new or helpful). However the new angles and heightened emotional focus made this a very useful book which felt quite fresh.

The book focuses on certain events, t
Neliza Drew
Sep 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
There's good information in this book, mostly gleaned from other sources and sometimes renamed.
The problem is the book is so poorly disorganized, it's hard to find the good information. The formatting of the digital version could have overcome this problem by making searches easier, having chapters or sections well labeled in the table of contents (TOC) so it was easy to skip to sections referenced by other sections. Instead, the digital formatting seems to have compounded the problem.
Sabrina K. Mercury
Jan 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great book for muddying writers

I found this book to be very insightful about creating an even more compelling story. Storytelling can be difficult when you've run out of steam and don't know where to take your characters. Sometimes it gets difficult to move the plot along only to find that you didn't plan it out well. This book gives you the tools to help stay on track whether you are a plotter or a pantser. I'm definitely going to try out the tools in this book to improve my storytelling.
Susan Stewart
Mar 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a very good book for authors who have difficulty building complex characters and intricate plots. I have been writing for a very long time and tend to like to write - and read - novels without quite so much detail. Still, I picked up a few good ideas and that's always good. I know I will refer back to this book when I start my next novel. I recommend this for people who are serious about writing good novels with interesting characters. If you are just playing around with the idea of writ ...more
Nov 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, writing
Though at times I was a touch confused about the specific definition of a term she uses or the order in which she suggests listing certain plot elements, overall I found this book extremely beneficial. It helped me develop my protagonist in meaningful ways and streamline my hazy plot. The book is easy to read and offers plenty of examples from films and the author's own works to supplement her explanations. I highly recommend other writers give this book a read. ...more
Sandra Lovelace
Feb 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: professional
The most valuable fiction resource I've found so far. It turns the confusion of process into a manageable task. ...more
Dec 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is an excellent alternative to "Save the Cat" when it comes to the craft of developing stories from a deep point of view. Lots of examples from movie clips help to make sense of the points Susan May Warren presents for each element of her proposed Story Equation.

The tagline is a bit misleading however, as a story isn't developed from just ONE POWERFUL QUESTION: it's a leading question that kickstarts the plot and takes the author/reader through a series of questions to create one story
Literary Strawberry
Apr 10, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This was super helpful to me! I wish it had been a little better edited-- I noticed several formatting issues, and at one point the author even used the wrong movie title (she'd been talking about While You Were Sleeping the chapter before, and then in the next chapter was talking about the same characters but said Sleepless in Seattle), which unfortunately decreased its sense of professionalism and credibility a bit, but the actual content was all great. It had a similar approach to Jeff Gerke' ...more
Holly Davis
Sep 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.5/5. This book reminded me very much of KM Weiland's Creating Character Arcs, and the advice is just as helpful! It's thorough in helping writers create a story cohesively with their characters. I loved the many examples Warren used so that the points really hit home, but she repeated herself quite a few times. It made me think, didn't I just read this? And sometimes they were worded the exact same way. I know repetition is good but this was a bit overkill, like she was trying to fill the spac ...more
C. Smith
Jul 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Clear, Concise, Simple

So many books on story structure and character arc make it harder than it has to be. Here is a readable, short text to take your characters from glimmer of idea to fully rounded, multi-layered individuals who have to struggle toward a satisfying, resonant ending. I recommend this book as one of the first you read about story structure, before you dive into more nuanced books about constructing the perfect story.
Christine Norvell
Feb 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing
3.5 A great start for new writers who are still in the plotting phase or may be stuck in development. Each part of the equation did contain examples, though these were limited to just a few genres. I did glean some important questions to ask of my characters, but found that the Lie, the Wound, the Flaw ideas all meshed imperceptibly. Those weren't helpful for me but perhaps good distinctions for other story writers. ...more
Aug 01, 2019 rated it liked it
I got some really good stuff out of this book, but the explanation of how to do the SEQ (story equation) was just so disjointed that it was hard to follow.

Ironically, and what is saving this book from a 1 or 2 star review, is that it has helped me quite a bit in my editing. Since I tend to write from the seat of my pants, even when working from a rough outline, I apply these concepts in reverse, adding sections or deleting as I rewrite.
Kathy Parish
Jul 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was literally a “God send.” I have been struggling with writer’s block on a work in progress. Now I realize why. The Story Equation opened my eyes to some missing elements. It’s gonna take some re-writing but I feel like the writing will be easier now! Highly recommend for all aspiring writers. Wish I had been exposed to it earlier!
Catherine Richmond
High energy, just like the author!

Warren's From the Inside Out starts with theme, which doesn't work for those of us who write to discover theme. Fortunately The Story Equation starts with characters and what questions to ask them - a better match for my way of writing. I'm looking forward to trying this with my next novel.
B.A. A. Mealer
Jul 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful method for writing

Finally a method that makes sense to my mind with all the idea bunnies. The question of who are you? Gives the basis. I can see th d making my stories tightrope with better characters. It isn't difficult to follow and doesn't take months of work to get to the story...that's for a book I'll actually a lot use.
Bradford Combs
Nov 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Of the eight books on writing that I've read this year, this one wowed me the most. Most books will give you things to assist in your wtiting, but there wasn't a page in the Story Equation that didn't make me think, "Oh, that's useful!" If I had to recommend one book for book writers, this one would easily be it. ...more
G.R. Lyons
Apr 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So much great information and inspiration. I'm going to turn around and read it all over again because I'm sure there are more little nuggets to pick up that I didn't quite catch on the first read, even after taking so many notes along the way. Now to go plot my next book! ...more
Jul 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing-craft
I got a lot out of this book. I was at the very beginning of learning the craft of story writing and needed a lot of help. Susie's warm, friendly style made it easy to absorb the concepts. I would certainly recommend it to anyone interested in honing their craft. ...more
Dec 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
nothing but solid information here

Her focus and most helpful contribution is explaining what is and is not important in the backstory of your main characters, and how getting the right information from your main characters will help build your plot.
Sharon Hughson
Feb 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
An excellent and easily accessible guide to crafting great fiction stories with characters readers will relate to. I recommend taking the video class that is also available to get the most clarity of Susie May’s process.
Rebecca Reed
Oct 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
For aspiring or even published authors, this book will add depth and substance to your novel in the plotting stage. Written in an easily accessible style with excellent examples and insights, you'll save time editing if you start here first. ...more
Kim Megahee
Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was the book I’ve been looking for. I believe my books will be significantly better and more relatable after applying the principles in this book.
May 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Practical and useful

A very useful book. Unlike other books, this one proposed ideas and followed by good examples. You always learn from someone who has been there!
Pauline Youd
Jul 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Read it. Mark it up. Use it even if you're halfway through with your latest work. It is very motivational and instructive and the author is an excellent teacher in making her lessons clear. ...more
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I can't help be amazed at the gifts God has delighted me with - a wonderful husband, four amazing children, and the opportunity to write for Him.

I've been writing as long as I can remember - I won my first book writing contest in first grade! Over the years, writing has become, for me, a way to praise God and see Him at work in my life.

Although I have a degree in Mass Communications from the Unive

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