Once in a while a writing book comes along that is so good it has to be on your shelf. A few years ago, it was Story by Robert McKee. Today it’s Story Engineering by Larry Brooks.
Last year at Write on the River I had the experience of seeing students coming out of a Larry Brooks class on story architecture looking happily stunned. They’d seen something that broke open storytelling for them. Their novel problems were exposed in dazzling clarity. The missing elements and their function–all obvious to them.
Brooks’s new book presents these principles in a wonderfully freeing way. You’ll learn the structural elements of story not as a rigid template, but as a classic blueprint. He lays out why the elements have to be there and how they create drama. You’ll still need to work your artistic magic to breathe life into your story–but you’ll be working smart and not floundering with a shapeless narrative that has lost its rhythm–and reader interest.
I highly recommend this book for both beginners and more seasoned writers. It teaches us, or reminds us, what makes a story work.