Trying to teach the full enchilada comprehensive overview of the Story Engineering writing mindset in one hour – 50 minutes, to be more accurate – is like trying to equip a teenager for college, marriage and a corporate career during a quick lunch at Applebees.
As if one could actually keep the attention of a teenager for that span of time.
But that’s what happened to me in Las Vegas, at the Las Vegas Writers conference, and it’s all my fault. I was asked what I wanted to teach, and then this happened.
Not that the audience was composed of teenagers, quite the contrary, they were hungry for information. I use that analogy because… well, it makes the point. The writers in that room were for the most part mature, whip-smart writers seeking to go to the next level.
It seemed like a good idea at the time, and to some extent, it was.
A contextual overview of the broad span of the Story Engineering context is a valuable piece of the delivery, much like looking over a navigational map before setting out from Seattle for Hawaii in a sailboat. One should know what one might expect and not expect along the way.
Storms and sharks and running out of gas… all of that awaits on the story development journey, as well.
Perhaps the most frustrated person in that meeting room was me.
Because I know from experience that even a full weekend workshop leaves some of the sub-sets and nuances of this learning short-changed, relegated to a stud- this-later-when-you-have-more-time take away. The structural diagram, in particular, is a full day lecture and a full year or more of immersion (which includes actually applying it within a draft) to fully wrap one’s head around the functionality of it all.
Those seeking a magic pill or a quick fix always leave disappointed, even after that full weekend workshop.
And yet, the 50 writers in attendance (twice, over two identical sessions; some of the second day attendees were repeats from Day 1 who wanted more) seemed to hear and learn what I wanted them to see and learn, given the time constraint. I could almost hear their brains exploding, their eyes wide and their questions astute.
Of course, the long-form exploration of this resides in my three writing books, especially the first one (Story Engineering: The Six Core Competencies of Successful Writing, from Writers Digest Books), though the other two go beyond that introductory context to explore how these core competencies are empowered to work (“Story Physics”), and then how to be hands-on with them to either plan or revise a work-in-progress (“Story Fix”).
That excitement translated to what amounts to a writer’s dream come true (mine), when on the third day, just before my keynote address, they brought in 100 copies of the three titles (thanks to the local bookstore that stepped up to make this happen), which sold out in about 30 minutes or so.
Which is why I wanted to share this with you today on Storyfix.
If you’re been around here, this becomes a valuable review of the basics, with an integration of the core competencies and story physics, all within the context of application. If you’re new to this, then this becomes precisely what it was in that meeting room – a Cliff Notes crash course introduction into what many believe to be the most effective and clear story development and writing model out there.
Something that can truly change and empower your writing journey.
One final note here… I tried to get this onto the post page itself, which was a no-go, thanks to whatever constrictions WordPress decided to impart to the software.
Greek to me.
So you can use this link to gain access to that PowerPoint itself; I hope you will:
Bon appetite. Epiphanies may await. I hope you find one or two here.