Saturday, December 1, 2018
According to the back cover, this book can "help you crack the story code and create a novel, screenplay, or memoir that will keep readers riveted. Using one novelist's evolving story as an example throughout, Story Genius takes you step-by-step from the first glimmer of an idea to an expansive multilayered cause-and-effect blueprint - including fully realized scenes. By plumbing the nitty-gritty details of your raw idea to organically generate your story's internal logic, meaning, and urgency, you'll end up with a first draft that has the authority, richness, and command of a sixth or seventh."
I bought this book because I did exactly what the book says on the back cover: spent months "writing hundreds of pages only to realize the story has no sense of urgency and no internal logic."
Having read this book I now understand why those stories failed and also, how I managed to write some stories to the end. In the latter case I pretty much did what Cron talks about in the book without entirely being aware of it. Having failed in my last 2 attempts to write something worth reading, I decided to do things differently.
Now, I will say that the evolving story that's used in the book isn't the best example, in my opinion. And at times it was hard to translate what Cron suggested to the type of story I was writing. But I persisted and now, having done all the exercises and written 20K plus words, I actually feel like I'm in a much better position to write the story. Instead of plunging forth into the darkness with my lantern and compass like most pantsers, I now have a somewhat detailed map of my destination, character studies, scenes, backstory, and knowledge of the world in which my characters are going to live in for the next 300 or so pages. I don't want to say it's plotted, because that's not what the book is about. It's more like laying the perfect foundation upon which to build and having a blueprint of what you will build. For the pantser (like me) who doesn't want to plot too much but is willing to explore backstory and character motivations, this has proved to be an excellent how-to book. I would also hazard a guess that for the plotter, the book might be equally as helpful.
Final words: If you've ever spent months "writing hundreds of pages only to realize the story has no sense of urgency and no internal logic" then this book is definitely for you. Even if you haven't, I'll bet you'll find something useful.
As for my glimmer of an idea, the only thing I'll share is the picture that sparked the what if...
Meanwhile, it's cold here in Maine. Not horribly right now. And I'm glad the rain came and washed most of the snow away. But it's December. And that means spring is four long months away. Months filled with cold and snow and ice, and I have no vacation to look forward to. But. I do have a story I'm looking forward to writing and that, my friend, is a very good thing.