A Free Reading Guide to Use with ‘Story Engineering’

A guest post by Jennifer Blanchard

(Quick pre-read note from Larry — Jennifer Blanchard represents the best possible outcome for me as a writing teacher, blogger and author.  She’s someone who had looked for clarity for many years relative to how to write a novel – really write a novel – and when she found my website, and then my book, “Story Engineering,” she says it changed her life.  To be honest, she’s not the only or the first person to say that, but she’s the absolute best living proof-statement to this day relative to how this understanding – not so much me personally – can  truly empower your writing life.  I’ve watched her blossom not only as an author and a professional, but as a purveyor of writing wisdom in her own right, with an on-going stream of helpful guides and ebooks and blog posts and guided programs that take the craft forward in clear and value-adding directions.  A month ago I had the privilege of c0-presenting a 4.5 day “master class” workshop with her, and listening to her wax eloquent on the various facets of storytelling craft was an amazing thing to behold.  She is one of the most prolific, positive, high energy writers I’ve ever met.  Someone we should all listen to.  It humbles me that she reflects on her work with me as she does here.  Every writing teacher should be so blessed to have someone not only get it to the degree she gets it, but represent the material as she does.  I am in her debt in so many ways.   Larry)

Like so many of you reading this blog, I had my life totally changed by discovering Larry Brooks and his story structure model. For me, this was back in early 2009.

At the time I was on a mission to find the information I was missing, the information that would allow me to finally write a cohesive, engaging story (because up to that point everything I had tried was a total disaster).

Googling around and checking out articles, I somehow managed to come across a guest post by Larry on another blog. That guest post led me to StoryFix.com.

And the rest is history.

That article totally changed everything for me. It brought story structure front and center in my mind and helped me to see exactly why nothing had worked for me previously.

I was hooked.

Hooked on Larry. Hooked on story structure.

And since I had read every freaking writing book and took every freaking writing workshop and college class I could find about writing novels, and still never came across the story structure info I learned from Larry, in that moment I made it my mission to spread the story structure message far and wide.

So in late 2009, when Larry put together an eBook called: Story Structure: Demystified, and asked for beta readers, I jumped like a sugar addict jumps for a cupcake.

I got my hands on that eBook and I read it cover-to-cover. Five times in the same week. I even printed the whole thing out and put it into a binder so I’d be able to have a hard copy to read and make notes on. (And, of course, I wrote a glowing review.)

A year later, this amazing, life-changing eBook became, Story Engineering, published by Writer’s Digest Books.  It remains one of their bestselling titles on writing craft, and was followed by two other killer writing books that build on that initial revelation.

I make it a point to re-read Story Engineering at least once a year (sometimes twice!). Because I want to stay connected with the core stuff required to write a killer story.

If you’ve read Story Engineering, you know what I’m talking about.

This book is by far the bible of storytelling. I recommend it to every single writer I come across. I shout from the rooftops why people need to read it and follow it.

Because it’s just that good (which you already know if you’ve read it).

The Story Engineering Study Guide

I wanted a way to keep the information from the book right in front of me at all times. Almost like Cliff Notes for Story Engineering.

So I created a reading guide to go with the book. It’s a simple PDF that I used to keep track of what I learned in each section, and any additional questions I had or things I needed to get clarification on.

And I’m gifting this reading guide to you, so you can also use it to keep the principles of storytelling at the front of your mind.

You can download the free Story Engineering reading guide here.

How has Story Engineering (and Larry Brooks) changed your life? I’d love to know! Share in the comments.

About the Author: Jennifer Blanchard is an author and story development coach who empowers emerging novelists to take control of their writing destinies, by helping them master craft and create a pro writer mindset. Grab her free Story Structure Cheat Sheet and put the principles of structure to work in your story. Visit her website here.

15 Comments

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15 Responses to A Free Reading Guide to Use with ‘Story Engineering’

  1. As I’ve often said, Story Engineering changed my writing life. It’s the reason I got published, and I will always be grateful. Like you, I was instantly hooked and bought every book Larry wrote, both craft and thrillers. He’s amazing! And he’s also my favorite fiction author. Love, love, love his books!

  2. I’m a huge fan of the book as well. It changed how I approach writing completely. Thank you so much for the free cheat sheet. Off to download it now!

  3. Martha Miller

    I took a couple of Larry’s classes before this structural paradigm of his sunk into my brain, but once it finally did, it was like a floodlight going on. At last! A way to look at a confusing, heaving mass of ideas and make a story out of them. It’s simple and elegant and it works! Now, having his craft books on the shelf gives me a place to go when I’m stumped. Thanks again, Larry, for all you do for writers!

  4. As any regular reader of Story Fix knows, I crow about Larry every chance I get. His feedback, here on the blog, in his books, and personally, has played a major role in who I am as a writer.

    (And thanks for the guide, Jennifer.)

  5. Larry and Jennifer,

    Hope you’re both well.

    Larry, I was going to drop a line after your last power-point blurb, and now that Jennifer’s is in the same area here goes. I’ve had personal definitive notes on “Engineering” and “Physics” since their genesis. Five pages for each book in 16pt font. Powerful stuff. Guess where I keep them?
    Larry, I’ve been busy/immersed doing what I should be doing…writing full time! I’m looking forward to working with you this summer.

  6. How has Larry Brooks changed my life?

    For years and years, I had ideas. I had pieces of books. I groped blindly through my own narrative, trying to emulate what I saw professional authors doing. I picked up a few skills, but did not know it because they were awash in a sea of darkness called I Don’t Know What the Hell I’m Doing. Stories went untold. Books went unwritten. Souls languished. Darkness fell across the land.

    Then, one day, after searching for “How to write stories. Dammit. No, seriously.”, I tumbled into a land called Storyfix.com.

    Revealed, at last, this: These are the questions you need to ask. And these are the answers. I learned what I didn’t know and then what I needed to know. And then I learned it. From a man who wrote everything he knew about it on a blog. Not some of it. All of it. For free.

    The sea parted. A book was born. A book was finished. A book was humbly published on KDP. People bought the book. Very very few, but people I did not know paid money to read something I had written. The Beginning had arrived.

    I voyage, then, across this stormy sea. I read the stars this way, set my sail that way and align my compass thusly, as I have been taught. My hand is unsteady on the tiller for I know this is just The Beginning and the voyage is long and the sea is strong. And I know I may not yet arrive in the Land of the Published.

    But I dare sail.

    That’s how.

  7. This is my review of Story Fix. It kinda sums things up for me.

    Don’t read this book! It will create more competition for me. Please go to the beach and meditate and wait for your story to manifest from the voice of collective consciousness of the cosmos.

    Okay?

    Kidding aside, when reading Larry Brooks, I feel like I’m getting insider trading information as if I’m cheating on a test. For a moment, I don’t wanna do a review. It’s for selfish reasons so I relent…eventually. My review will promote his book and thus lead to other writers–perhaps in my genre–gaining insight and thus creating competition for me. My better angels eventually get the best of me.

    Larry Brooks is a writing coach and author who changed EVERYTHING for me as a writer. I owe a great deal to him for my success as a self-published author. Granted, I have a full-time job and would love to write full-time, but I need to write and publish more before that is a remote possibility. But due to following the teaching Brooks put forth in Story Engineering, my fantasy fiction book Blood & Soul: Creed of Kings Saga: Book One spent almost six months in the bestseller category on Amazon. Had I not discovered him God only knows if I’d have been able to finish writing Blood & Soul.

    The best way to describe my awakening is that Larry’s book gave me handles. Prior to his insights, I couldn’t grasp clearly how to do what I was trying to do. Every time I read one of his books I’m closer to being the best storyteller I can be. And my success can be traced to him.

    Story Fix is the fourth book I have read by Mr. Brooks. In my opinion, Story Fix is as revolutionary as Story Engineering to the uninitiated. Delving back into Concept and Premise at the start of this book was great for me. I really needed that and it helped greatly with the next draft in the series I am writing.

    I can recite the milestones by rote that NEED to be in a story because of Brooks. I scribbled in the margins of my hardcopy of Story Engineering. I read Story Fix on kindle and highlight many passages.

    I highly recommend this book. No, I don’t. If you are a romance writer, read this book. You’re not in my genre. 😉

    • *THis is one of my favorite reviews, ever. Not only because of the content (which I admit, is really rewarding), but for the creativity, as well. Thanks, Allen, for taking the time to do this, and for your enthusiasm for my book. Much appreciated. L.

  8. Really good article and more informative. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Very superb and such a nice article thanks for sharing this post.

  10. Excellent Work in article it’s a very helpful for me thank to share this info.