Story Structure: The Key to Successful Fiction by William Bernhardt
I’ve been on a 5 year journey of writing and conceptualizing a heroic fantasy saga. For a couple of years I got lost in the confusing world of “no rules” style of how-to writing books (Can you say oxymoron?). Unfortunately, many areas of our postmodern world are full of new age “wisdom” such as “listen to the wind” or “stream of consciousness writing.” Granted, many writers find their story doing just that, but, in my opinion, it is a colossal waste of precious time when one has a fulltime job. Those writers, who write like that, are simply looking for the ah-ha moment that often obsoleted thousands of words and weeks of work. I know, I did it. What these types of writers are looking, and what I was looking for, was structure, that ah-ha moment. This book helps you find those moments, those milestones in story structure, those “Luke, I am your father,” moments.
Bernhardt’s book, and others like him, such as Larry Brooks, gave me a steering wheel, accelerator, brakes, a clutch and gear shift; a vehicle for the journey. They also helped me map out the road before I started the journey. Bernhardt’s book is appealing to me because it is succinct. If you are on the run, you can zip through it pretty quick on your smart phone e-reader app.
If you want to spend weeks, months, or even years pantsing, that’s your business. Good luck to you. But, you’re taking the long and laborious approach to finding story structure. Put some handles on it with books/teachers like Bernhardt, Brooks and James Scott Bell, too.