The Writing Tools Needed to Get it Finished

I am reading an amazing book right now. Story Engineering by Larry Brooks is phenomenal. I found out about this book by reading Kristen Lamb’s Blog. It stood out, because I have been craving weighty knowledge about behind the scenes of fantasy novels. Everywhere I had looked before, said just write, or make outlines, or breathe life into your characters. Nothing was actually written in a way that taught the basics about what every story should have. I am only halfway through the book, and already I know ten times more then I did.

I have a confession to make. I have never completed a story. Admittedly I’ve never really tried (until recently). My focus used to center on poetry, and blog entry type stuff. There is another reason I never really tried however, and that’s because I knew where to begin, and I knew how to end, but I always got lost in the middle. I felt overwhelmed by all the aspects of story telling, because I couldn’t keep all my crazy awe-inspiring ideas that were buzzing around in my head organized on paper.

If you read my first blog entry called My Inspiration and Process of Writing, you will recall that when it came to inspiration I have tons of it, but when it came time for me to write about my process, I had nothing. Basically my strategy has always been, just write. It works don’t get me wrong, but it only works so far. I had a thirst for the knowledge in this book. I needed to know more about structure, about character development, and about character arcs. I needed to know the psychology behind writing a story.

Reading this book has taught me terms, and words for things I instinctually knew, but it wasn’t there on the surface in a way that would allow me to study certain aspects in other people’s work. For example I was reading about character development. Sub consciously I know what a character needs to feel real; I am majoring in psychology after all, but after reading about the different dimensions that it takes to make a character stand out in a story, I am now seeing these dimensions in characters in every movie I have watched since reading those chapters. Additionally I am now able to study the different ways that other writers subtly make a characters backstory known without a flashback. It’s an exhilarating experience.

I don’t think that I’m anywhere near to knowing everything, but I am now five steps closer to my dreams. Which is cool, because that is why I started this blog in the first place; it gives me a way to practice, a way to connect with other writers, and a way to hone my story writing abilities.