Just finished reading one of the best books of the year in any genre, and probably the finest memoir I’ve read, ever.
It’s the autobiography of tennis legend Andre Agassi, entitled Open.
If you haven’t heard about it – it’s the most highly publicized non-fiction book of the past few months – then you’ve been too busy. Hopefully, writing.
An occupational hazard, that. Nothing inspires and motivates writers quite like reading something spectacular that sets a high bar for the rest of us. Agassi’s ghostwriter, J.R. Moehringer, is a Pulitzer Prize winner, though he refused cover credit despite Agassi’s insistence.
If you love and follow professional tennis, then this book is a sure thing and a must-read.
It’s also a must-read if you enjoy memoirs, and even more so, if you’re writing one.
A couple months ago I suggested that once we understand the basic elements of story structure, we can actually see them in play over the two-minute course of a movie preview. In that discussion I referenced the film Edge of Darkness starring Mel Gibson, the preview for which reveals both plot points, the mid-point, and a hefty portion of the Part 1 set-up.
You could almost write the first 27 pages of that script just by soaking up the trailer.
The movie is now out, and if you’ve seen the preview you can arrive 28 minutes late and not miss a thing. Because Part 1 indeed unfolds precisely as the preview promised. (I recommend finding and studying the preview online before you see the film, then watch it again after you’ve seen the film.)
If you’re a thriller fan, the movie is definately worth checking out. And for the same reasons I called attention to the preview.
And if you’re not a thriller fan, but you are a student of story structure, then do yourself a favor – see it anyway. That, and The Lovely Bones, which is an entirely different flavor of story, this one based on a book that sold 15 million copies. I’m just sayin’.
Why? Because this film is a clinic not only on structure, but also on character arc, and thematic resonance, all played out in context to a concept that is much more than this or any preview could possibly convey.
Also, notice the emotional power of the ending, and how the narrative has been carefully set up to make you feel it.
Bring a notepad, a penlight and a watch, then sit back and observe the pristine form and function that makes this thriller so rewarding. Fair warning, though – it’s as violent as it is unafraid to suggest some dark truths about our newfound national security resource.
No, I didn’t land an interview with Gisele. Damn.
A Storyfix reader recently suggested – close to a chide, actually – that I include specific examples to empower the theories and principles that are the bread of butter of this website.
She suggested I deconstruct and chart a familiar story… such as the two billion dollar and counting megahit movie, Avatar.
Fair enough again.
So that’s coming soon. I’ll offer a part-by-part deconstruction of the story, with specific scenes (and their timecode) called out as plot points, pinch points, the mid-point and other notable points.
Not sure if James Cameron will return my call to help, but I’ll press forward without him.
I’ll be doing other deconstructions here, as well, in the coming year.
I’m in the process turning two recent series of posts here on Storyfix into new ebooks:
– The Three Dimensions of Character, and
– Get Your Bad Self Published
By turning, I mean an embellishment that includes expansion of those posts (which remain available here on the site) and some carefully crafted new material, including specific examples from well known books and movies.
Both books will sell for $14.95 here on Storyfix.
If you’d like to pre-order a beta copy of either ebook, you can do so – and at a pre-publication discount – by sending $10 for each title you want to my Paypal account: firstname.lastname@example.org. Just be sure to specific which title(s) you’re ordering.
I’ll send you both books immediately upon completion, which will be within the next two weeks. This offer remains open until the official launch dates.
Because several of you have asked… the road to publication for my book from Writers Digest Books is coming along nicely. The full manuscript will soon be on the publisher’s desk, with publication set for one year from now.
Yeah, that’s now long it takes in the big bad world of New York publishing.
As is usually the case when a manuscript changes owners, the original title (“The Six Core Competencies of Successful Storytelling” has been tweaked. The book is now called, and proudly so:
“Story Engineering: Mastering the Six Core Competences of Successful Writing”
Let the journey begin.
My New Novel
Oh. That, too.
Whisper of the Seventh Thunder breaks March 1, from Sons of Liberty Publishing. It’ll be available through the normal online channels, including Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com, and also through major bookstores and many independents. If it isn’t in stock, please ask your bookseller to order you a copy.
Did I say please?
The goal is to make this timely apocalyptic thriller go viral.
The website is up – www.whisperofthesevenththunder.com – with more content to be added prior to release date. At this writing the synopsis of the story is available, and of course, you can see the cool cover design.
Don’t be scared, it’s just a story.
Never mind that the ultimate outcome of it was foretold – with a bit of literary license… not relative to the apocalypse, but to the events leading up to it — over 2000 years ago.
Believer or not, whatever does happen in that regard will affect all of us. Which is precisely the conceptual centerpiece of this story.
And no, it’s not a religious book. It’s a secular thriller – so was The Davinci Code, even though it shook the religious community to its core – that explores the relevance of today’s headlines to prophecy that many believe has begun its ticking clock.
Thanks for your continued interest in Storyfix. I am committed to making this the finest resource on the internet for fiction writers seeking to get closer to making their writing dream a reality.
(Storyfix is an affilate marketer for Amazon.com.)