We all know how to tell stories just like we all know our native language, having heard both since we were born. People, however, who study their native language discover there's much they misunderstood or simply didn't know. The same is true of story when we look at it more carefully. With topics that include the theory of story as model, the fractal key to narrative complexity, and the art of the long form, this volume will show you the essence of stories and storytelling.
"Tolkien is a red herring"
In order to master the craft of writing and the art of storytelling you must internalize the rhythms of the human experience and the ways we share that experience. There are deep and consistent patterns in the ways we tell stories, weave narrative illusions, and develop fascinating characters.
This guide explores the structural underpinnings of character and characterization in terms of mythic cycles of transformation like the hero's journey and the virgin's promise. Once you understand these patterns, your characters will ring true, and your listeners will believe in them, too.
Being a professional writer involves more than mastering the craft of writing and the art of storytelling. There are the constant challenges of managing your own expectations as a writer, dealing with other people in the industry, maintaining your creativity, and running what is, in truth, a small business.
Like real life, the writing life is filled with contradictions and perplexities. The world of commercial publishing is counter-intuitive, and writers dive in weighed down by misconceptions, delusions, and unrealistic expectations. Perhaps because most of us write in some form every day, we believe we can - and should - write a book. We also assume writing is the hard part, and once our manuscript is finished publishers will line up for the privilege of delivering it to the world. This is why many people who say they want to write really mean they want to have written.
We generally associate creativity with spasms of brilliance, even though waiting for inspiration is like waiting for lightning to strike - it happens, but it's rarely predictable or repeatable. Committed, long-term relationships don't simply happen. More than just hard work, it takes discipline and wisdom to keep a romance alive. The same is true for creativity. This book is about the discipline and wisdom of creativity, particularly as it applies to writers.
In terms of objective reality, a work of fiction is an elaborate lie. No writers think of themselves as liars simply because they write fiction, but that's the fact of the matter. And no other writing guide will admit to teaching you to be a better writer by showing you how to be a better liar - at least in a narrative sense. A good lie rings true. Verisimilitude, or the appearance of truth, is critical in a novel because audiences start the book knowing it is fiction.
This guide explores artisan publishing, a new approach to creating and releasing books where the focus is on quality and the integrity of the author's editorial vision. The path of the artisan isn't a shortcut to fame and fortune, but it is the best way to create something you'll be proud of and in which your readers will find lasting value.
For good or ill, once money enters the picture, you become a professional writer: even if you've never received a penny for your words, as soon as you try to sell them - to agents, editors, or the public - the nature of many of your social relationships changes. People will no longer care about you; they'll only care about what you and your writing can do for them. This guide looks at all the people who will be involved in buying and selling your books, what you need to understand about them, and how to deal with them.