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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Attention Writers! Review and Giveaway of Amy Deardon's Story Template

I was excited to review Amy's non-fiction craft book because I've always struggled with plotting. I had picked up Save the Cat, Story, The Moral Premise and Story Engineering at about the same time, and quite honestly, you could say that Amy's book kind of puts all the good eggs from those books in one basket that was easy to read and included visuals (which was great for me, since that's my learning style).

Here's a blurb about the book from Amazon:

Writing a novel or screenplay sounds like a fabulous idea. But where do you start? And how do you finish? 

Award-winning author, Amy Deardon, answers these questions in The Story Template: Conquer Writer's Block Using the Universal Structure of Story. This approach will help you focus your creativity and complete your unique and compelling story, script, or novel. With this tool and more than 100 targeted writing exercises, you will learn to: 

* Ascertain the four foundational story pillars, and use the "secret weapon" of the story template, to structure your story.

* Build character depth with believable change. 

* Create subplots to raise tension while you deepen and contrast story themes. 

* Review writing techniques that shape your ideas into a compelling manuscript. 

The Story Template is a product of Amy's comprehensive research -- as well as her personal experience -- for what makes a story "work." No matter your level of accomplishment, this book will help you build a better story.

Amy is a scientist, and as such, she approached fiction writing from this perspective. She analyzed (I like her already) around twenty modern novels and 15 or so fairly recent films and made a list of scenes from each of them. She calculated word count and timed the scenes, did other mathematical stats (that I won't pretend to understand, but you don't have to, yay for you!) and graphed the stories out. She compared the progression of the story to determine a common pathway from all of them...and this how she created the "story template."

It's not a formula, but it described the fundamental "shape" of a story. If writers utilize it, it ensures that story elements are present and proportionally correct to the rest of the book.

Now take a second and just let yourself ponder the awesomeness of what she has done for us.

Seriously. It was a little intimidating at first, but Amy's style is easy to read, and the exercises (over 100 of them!) are very helpful in fleshing out your story idea into a viable novel. You will find concepts that are familiar to you, but Amy gives them a different term. She addresses techniques for plotting, POV, dialogue, storyboarding, editing, etc, and blends it all together. In essence, she wrote a book that plugs a needed gap in the craft literature out there....a one-stop shop, if you will.

So if you find yourself staring at your screen, not having a clue what to do next or where to go, get this book.

Amy has offered to give away a copy of this book to one lucky commenter. I like for my book giveaways to be a perk for my blog readership so if you haven't already "followed" my blog, please do so by clicking the Follow button to your right. Leave your email address in the comment so I can reach you if you win!

Let's Analyze: Has that ever happened to you? Maybe you're plugging along and then WHAM! Writer's block. Or maybe you have a great idea for a book, but can't flesh it out enough? How do you get through this?