Showing posts with label short stories. Show all posts
Showing posts with label short stories. Show all posts

Friday, July 5

How To Publish 52 Short Stories And 10 Collections Per Year

How To Publish 52 Short Stories And 10 Collections Per Year

This is another terrific article by Dean Wesley Smith, this time on how to make your stories visible: The New World of Publishing: Helping Readers Find Your Work.

The Plan:

1. Pick a genre.

2. Write one short story a week.

3. Each short story should be around 5,000 words.

4. Brand each book.

5. Publish each short story as an ebook and charge $2.99.

6. Every 5 weeks bundle 5 stories together into a collection. Sell this collection as both an ebook and a POD book. Sell the ebook for $6.99 and the POD book for $12.99.

If you take DWS's advice at the end of the year you'll have 52 short stories and 10 collections.

Not bad!

How To Make A Living Writing Short Stories

Dean Wesley Smith writes that the key to selling books is threefold: Produce a professional looking book, brand each book and have many titles available for purchase.

Produce a professional looking book

There are hundreds of articles out there on what it means to produce a professional looking book and how you can do that so I won't cover it again here. (If you're looking for some help, here's an article on where to find cover artists.)

Make sure each book looks professional, has a good description, has appropriate keywords and has been slotted in the right category. 

Brand each book

A brand is the "name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller's product distinct from those of other sellers" (Wikipedia).

I'm not going to talk much about branding because there are oodles of great articles out there (for instance, Why Content Marketing is the New Branding).

Especially in this case, a picture really is worth a thousand words. Look at Dean Wesley Smith's Books. (Note: You might have to scroll down the page.) Notice how his name is laid out in the same way on each book; the same styling, the same font.

DWS writes that you want all your books, especially the ones in a series, to look similar. Also, make sure that the cover conveys a sense of the genre you're writing in. Think of the cover of your average romance book and contrast that with horror.

Have many titles available for purchase

That is, have many titles under the same name (/pen name) and genre available for purchase. If you write everything from romance to horror under the same name (/pen name) make sure that the books within each genre are branded distinctively.

How many books should one have for sale? DWS says: It depends. Between 10 and 50, give or take. (grin)

And remember, that's 10 to 50 books within the same genre written by the same author (/pen name).

#  #  #

The above represents only a portion of his article, I recommend heading on over to DWS's blog and reading the whole thing.


Photo credit: "Happy Fourth of July 2013!" by JD Hancock under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.

Sunday, April 14

Larry Brooks On The Structure Of Short Stories

Larry Brooks On The Structure Of Short Stories

I'm excited! For months I've been looking for a really good sink-your-teeth-in analysis of short story structure.

Today I found it in Larry Brooks' post: The Short Story on Structuring Your Short Story.

"short stories are harder to wrap your head around than a novel"

It's so true!

And that seems strange. A novel is 80,000 or so words while a short story can be as brief as 1,000. It would seem that a short story would be easier, not harder, to write.

Larry Brooks writes:
For every famous short story writer out there, there are 100 famous novelists.  That’s no accident.

To help explain this – as much to myself as for those reading this – consider this analogy: we get about two decades to raise our children.  We have that long, give or take, to send them out into the world with a shot at success and happiness.

A lot has to happen.  Sometimes two decades isn’t enough.

Try doing it in six months.  Or even a year.

 The Elements of Any Story

Larry Brooks lists the following as essential elements in any story, regardless of length:

- Conflict
- Stakes
- Need
- Journey
- Opposition
- Characterization
- Setting
- Arena
- Sub-text
- Voice

Your story is like a canvas laid out before you. Perhaps the canvas is huge and populated with dozens of characters (+120,000 word novels). Perhaps the canvas is tiny as a postage stamp (flash fiction).

It's up to you what size you want the canvas to be (/how maybe words you want to use) but you still have to communicate the same elements, though you have far less space and opportunity to do so.

If you're looking at this list wondering how the heck you can get all that into a 1,000 word piece of flash fiction, here's what Larry Brooks says is the trick: One or more of the above can be implied.

(By the way, Stephen King talks about his book, Under The Dome, and compares its scope to the size of a painter's canvas. The video clip is 4 minutes 11 seconds long.)

Know Your Theme

Writers need to be crystal clear about their objective for the story. Larry writes:
To pull this off, the short story writer needs to be perhaps even better at one specific aspect of the storytelling craft than the novelist.

The short story writer needs to be mission-driven.  The writer’s intentions – which implies a clear understanding of why this story needs to be written – requires a clear, concise objective before it can work.
 In other words, while this isn't always true for novels, for a short story you need to know your theme before you set pen to paper.

Once you understand the mission of the story--the work you want it to do--then you can decide on what structure you want the story to have.

Larry writes:
And for that [the story's structure], you can use the four-part structure for novels (set-up, response, attack, resolution, each part separated by specific plot points) to put a fence around your short story intentions.

The Structure of a Short Story

The question: Does a short story have to be structured like a novel? Does it have to have three acts, two plot points (/reversals), pinch points, and so on?

Larry says no, it's up to you.

Imagine a novel as a house. An 80,000 word novel would be like a 2,500 square foot family home. Perhaps we can compare a 120,000 word high fantasy novel to a sprawling 6,000 square foot manor house.

In larger works, you show the whole house while in a short story you have a choice. You can show a very very small house (friends of mine lived in a 500 square foot thimble of a house while they were going to university) or you can choose to only show one room of a larger house.

Larry writes:
Yes, you can create a four-part short story that is, in essence, a condensed version of the classic structural paradigm.

Or, you can hone in on any specific moment or segment of the four-part structure – such as, a single plot point element or a single scene from within any of the four contextually-defined parts – and have that become your architecture.

It’s like building a one room addition next to your house.  The end product might be intended to accommodate anything and everything that could go in inside the house, and when it’s done it needs to blend into the aesthetics and structural design of the bigger house.

Even if, in a picture or a drive-by, nobody gets to actually see the larger house.
 Brilliant analogy.

The Elements Of Any Story

I'm writing a 1,000 word piece of flash fiction for Chuck Wendig's Flash Fiction Challenge and it's difficult! So much has to be included but even more has to be left out.

Here, though, are the elements I think any riveting story has:
- At least one character who wants something desperately.
- Clear stakes, what will happen if he succeeds and what will happen if he fails. And not just generally, personally. To him, to the people he loves.
-  Made the protagonist's motivation clear. (e.g., motivation vs goal: Frodo took the One Ring to Mordor because he wanted to, basically, save the world from destruction. That was his motivation. His goal was to destroy the ring.)
- One way in which your main character is strong
- One way in which your main character is very weak
- A character who takes decisive action to achieve his goal.
I think the key here is, in the case of flash fiction, that you can show more than one thing at the same time (for example, show a character's weakness at the same time as you show what he wants most in the world).

Story Structure: The Essentials

Jack went to the corner grocery store, lit it on fire, and came home. 

That is kinda, sorta, a story. Not a very good one, though. Why did Jack light the store on fire? What did he hope to gain? Was he trying to prevent something? Who is Jack anyway?

There is no cause and effect structure, the events of the story--Jack going to the store, setting the store on fire, and coming back home--seem completely independent of each other; unrelated.

There are certain elements every story should have, which is not to say that every story should have the same structure.

I think Chuck Wendig is right, every story is unique and so, unsurprisingly, has it's own unique structure. That said, there are certain things gripping stories, riveting stories, the kind of stories that keep you up reading till 3am even when you have an important meeting the next morning ... there are certain elements those stories have in common. For instance, one of the characters will always want something and there will be something preventing him/her from achieving it.

But, still, the structure of every single individual story will be unique.

1. A Set-Up/Ordinary World

Call this part what you will, but there needs to be something that came before the inciting incident, even if that something is never shown in the story. Some stories have the action begin at the inciting incident or after it, but at some point we need to get a peek at what the protagonist's life was like before the call to adventure.

2. Inciting Incident/Call To Adventure

Something happens to break the status quo and offers the hero/protagonist a challenge, a goal to pursue. A course of action which has an endpoint and clear stakes. We need to see:

- How the protagonist reacts to this incident. Is he scared, elated, cocky? What actions does he take in response to this change?

- What are the stakes? What will happen to the hero if he takes up the challenge and achieves the goal/prize? If he fails? (Often there's a sequel after the scene in which the inciting incident occurs in which the hero discusses his options.)

- What is the heroes goal?

- What is the heroes motivation?

3. Midpoint

Something big needs to happen. This could involve explosions and hand-to-hand combat but it needn't. The essential thing is that the hero confronts or experiences something profound, something that will fundamentally change him or her.

This realization doesn't have to be something big. For instance, sometimes these revelations are like the last domino falling, they can be triggered by gazing out the living room window after the first snowfall of the year. (But of course that will have been built up to.)

When I write/edit, I strive to make it clear how this event, whatever it is that happens at the midpoint, changes the protagonist's goal--if it does. How it changes the stakes. How it causes the opposition to increase.

4. Reversal/All Is Lost/Complications (approx 3/4 mark)

After the midpoint and before the resolution there's probably going to be a big setback or at least a surprising, unexpected, change that complicates things, that makes it much harder--if not impossible--for the hero to attain his goal.

The stakes have been clearly spelled out in the other sections of the story so, here, the hero is staring failure in the face. Whatever plans the hero has, whatever progress they've made, is wiped out--or seems to be wiped out--right at the moment of victory.

But wait! It's so much worse than he thought it would be.

The negative consequences of failure aren't changed, not really, but they are intensified. Whatever the hero was anticipating, the negative stakes are now 10 times worse. If, in the beginning, only the hero's life was in danger, now the lives of his companions (if any), his tribe, and indeed the entire planet (perhaps the galaxy!), hang in the balance.
Now comes the really tricky part, getting the hero out of the mess he's in!

The hero as phoenix

One way of pulling the hero out of both the fire and the frying pan is to use his weakness. By overcoming his weakness, his great flaw, he will discover a way around the obstacles before him, a way to achieve his goal.

Or perhaps your hero has a special strength. For example, Indiana Jones had both knowledge and control--he knew not to look at the Ark when the Nazis opened it and, because (unlike Pandora) he could control his curiosity, he survived their fate.

The important thing is that if the hero does save himself at the 11th hour how he does it should come as a surprise, but one the audience feels they should have seen, or at least one that they could have worked out for themselves if they'd had more time to think about it.

5. Resolution

This is the climax, the final confrontation. This is where the hero either achieves his goal or fails.

Whichever outcome, we need to show the aftermath.

- The hero realizing the stakes, either victory or defeat. We needed to see Frodo back on The Shire. We need to see the One Ring slip into the liquid fire.

- Show the effect of victory or defeat on whatever it was that motivated him.

- Show what happened to whatever opposed the hero in his quest.

And in flash fiction you have to try and do the essential bits in the above in under 1,000 words!

Challenge: I'm taking up Chuck Wendig's Flash Fiction challenge this week. Join me! Which sentence would you pick as the first line of your 1,000 word story?

Other articles you might like:

- How To Get Honest Book Reviews
- What Slush Pile Readers Look For In A Story
- Is Writing Rewriting?

Photo credit: "verde amarelo" by alexdecarvalho under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.

Saturday, December 15

The Structure Of Short Stories: The Elevator Pitch Version

The Structure Of Short Stories: Stripping Your Story Down To Its Bones

This post is part two of my series on the structure of short stories. To read the first post, click here: The Structure Of Short Stories.

The Chicken And The Egg

One thing I should have said a few words about yesterday was how you can establish elements like setting (time, place, mood, and so on), who your characters are, what your protagonist's major conflict is, and all the rest of it, if you don't already have a good grasp of your story idea.

The fact is a lot of times we work our way into a short story through a bootstrapping process. Perhaps you have an initial idea--a critter with paranormal abilities, a pirate (arg!), two people who fall in love. Chances are, you'll have some an idea when you sit down what you want to do. Go with it. Brainstorm.

Here are some resources that might help generate ideas, or shape the ones you have:

Writing Prompts

Writing prompts can help defeat writer's block, but they're also great for generating ideas. There are many sites on the web with writing prompts, but here are two I like:

- Writing prompts
- CanTeach: Writing prompts

Seventh Sanctum

Seventh Sanctum has all sorts of generators. You can generate names, settings, even story ideas! The next time you're stuck for an idea, go browse.

The Essential Idea

If you don't have all the elements of your short story yet that's fine, but lets try and distill those you do have and, perhaps, get a few more along the way. You can make sure you're starting off on the right foot. (This is also a great exercise for after you've finished your story to make sure all the essentials are in place.)

Nathan Bransford has a terrific blog. The post I come back to the most is Nathan's Query Letter Mad Lib in which he gives the forumla for how to summarize your novel in one sentence. But to condense an entire story down to one sentence is challenging! I propose to first condense our story ideas into 5 sentences and then, from there, we can hone it even farther.

Sound like a plan? Great! Let's get started.

A 5 Sentence Story Description

Nathan Bransford very generously posted the query he used to shop around his first book: Jacob Wonderbar and the Cosmic Space Kapow. (Nathan used to be an agent for Curtis Brown Ltd.)

Let's dissect Nathan's description of his novel and see if we can't make a template out of it:

1. The ordinary world

"Jacob Wonderbar has been the bane of every substitute teacher at Magellan Middle School ever since his dad moved away from home."

[Protagonists name] has been [protagonists outer challenge] ever since [protagonist's wound]. 

2. Setting and characters introduced

"He never would have survived without his best friend Dexter, even if he is a little timid, and his cute-but-tough friend Sarah Daisy, who is chronically overscheduled."

He never would have survived without [friend1 description] [friend1 name], even if he is [friend1 fault], and his [friend2 description] [friend2 name], who is [friend2 fault]. 

3. Entering the special world

"But when the trio meets a mysterious man in silver one night they trade a corn dog for his sassy spaceship and blast off into the great unknown."

But when the trio meets [threshold guardian description] they [cross the threshold] and [exciting verb for "enter"] [the special world]. 

4. It all falls apart

"That is, until they break the universe in a giant space kapow and a nefarious space buccaneer named Mick Cracken maroons Jacob and Dexter on a tiny planet that smells like burp breath."

That is, until [the awful thing that happened as a result of protagonist's actions] and [antagonist description] named [antagonist name] does [some hideous deed to protagonist that hurts him and will definitely prevent him from reaching his external goal]. 

5. The challenge

"The friends have to work together to make it back to their little street where the houses look the same, even as Earth seems farther and farther away." 

The [protagonist] has to work [deed] to [achieve their external goal and return to the ordinary world].

Example: The Firm

1. Ordinary world

Mitch McDeer worked hard to get top grades at Harvard Law School because he never wanted to be poor again.

2. Characters and setting

He would never have succeeded without the love and support of his beautiful wife Abby who, more than anything, wants Mitch to stop running and accept who he is, and to accept his brother, even though his family is a reminder of what Mitch is running from: the shame of growing up in a trailer park, poor, raised by a mother who didn't really care about him.

3. Entering the special world 

When the lawyers from Bendini, Lambert & Locke offer Mitch more money than any other law firm it is a dream come true and he and Abby move into their brand new house, courtesy of the firm.

4. It all falls apart

Everything is great until Mitch learns about the secret files and discovers Bendini, Lambert & Locke is just a front for organized crime. As the FBI closes in on Mitch, threatening him with prison, the mob gets suspicious.

5. The challenge for the protagonist

Mitch has to rely on his wits to save himself and Abby. But is he up to the challenge?

One Sentence Summary

"A young lawyer joins a prestigous law firm only to discover that it has a sinister dark side. (The Firm, IMDB)"

Let's see if we can't expand on that summary of The Firm using Nathan's formula:
[protagonist name] is a [description of protagonist] living in [setting]. But when [complicating incident], [protagonist name] must [protagonist's quest] and [verb] [villain] in order to [protagonist's goal]. (Query Letter Mad Lib)
Here's my attempt:
Mitch McDeere is a smart, motivated, young lawyer living in Boston. But when he gets a job with a group of crooked lawyers, Mitch must thread his way between the dual threats of the FBI and the mob in order to preserve both his life and his law degree.
What I find interesting is that certain points had to fall by the wayside. Here we are forced to only focus on what is of primary importance for the plot: Mitch, the threat posed by the mob and the threat posed by the FBI.

Mitch's wife, Abby, was a large part of the plot, but in the one (okay TWO!) sentence summary she falls by the wayside.

Being ruthless like this and cutting away until you're left with the essential bits can help you focus, right from the beginning, on what is critical to your story. It can help make it strong and easier and quicker to write.

I think that's it for now. In the next post in this series--which probably won't be tomorrow, I'll give you folks a break!--I'll talk about Dan Well's 7-Point system.

(By the way if you haven't read Ben Guilfoy's article on how to write a serial you're missing out! I think serials are the next big thing and Ben's been writing them for years. He explains his system clearly and with humor. Truly, a must read.)

 Till tomorrow, happy writing!

Other articles you might like:

- The Structure Of Short Stories
- Where Ideas Come From And The Conspiracy Against Nothingness
- Roleplaying Games And Writing, Does The One Help The Other?

Photo credit: "Sunburst" by John-Morgan under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.

Wednesday, December 5

Short Story Structures: Several Ways Of Structuring Short Fiction

Short Story Structures: Several Ways Of Structuring Short Fiction
I have a problem. For the past two years or so, every time I set out to write a short story—something under 5,000 words—I fail miserably. It grows and grows and grows until I'm writing a 20,000 word novella!

And there's nothing wrong with that.

It used to be it was hard to sell novellas but the form is experiencing a resurgence. It appears that as long as buyers are informed about the length of a story, they don't mind variety. (See: Ian McEwan Believes The Novella Is The Perfect Form Of Prose Fiction)

But I digress. As I say, there isn't anything wrong with writing novellas, but I've grown increasingly anxious. Every time I begin a short story it morphs into a novella. It has gotten to the point that—even if only for the novelty of it!—I would like to write a short story.

The upshot is that I've researched various structures that could be used for short stories because I think my problem is that I'm trying to use the structure of a novel for a short story. Not good.

Here's what I found.

The Hero's Journey: The Structure For A Novel

So that we'll have something to contrast the various short story structures with, here's the classic monomyth structure in visual form. This comes by way of the wonderfully creative folks at TED:

Short Story Structure 1: A Character, In A Situation, With A Problem ...

1. A character,
2. in a situation,
3. with a problem,
4. who tries repeatedly to solve the problem,
5. but fails, usually making the problem worse.
6. At the climax of the story the hero makes a final attempt which may succeed or fail.
7. The result of the hero's final attempt is validated in a way that makes it clear what we saw was the final result.
I've paraphrased it, but that's from Philip Brewer's post, Story Structure in Short Stories. Originally it comes from Algis Budrys.

This structure seems better suited to the brevity of a short story, but let's keep looking.

Short Story Structure 2: Set-up, Response, Attack, Resolution

This short story structure comes to us by way of Larry Brooks's article: The Short Story on Structuring Your Short Story. He writes:
"Like life, our stories always reside somewhere along that same continuum of set-up… shift… response… shift… attack… shift… resolution."
1. Setup
2. Shift
3. Response
4. Shift (mid-point)
5. Attack
6. Shift
7. Resolution

Sarah A Hoyt: The Structure Of A Short Story

This wonderfully detailed short story structure comes from Sarah A. Hoyt's article, The Structure of A Short Story, and is, I'm afraid, a case of me saving the best till last. Well, almost last.

(All quotations are from Sarah's article.)
1. First line or two
"[I]ntroduce the most startling or grabby thing about your characters/setting/situation."

2. Rest of the first paragraph
"[L]ay out character/setting/ and most of all problem.  You might want to lead with problem as that brings out the most interesting things about your idea.  (If your idea isn’t interesting, WHY are you writing it?)"

3. Next few pages (From the first paragraph up to the 25% mark)
"Develop the present situation which your character is caught.  This situation is usually not the main problem, and you should have at least one try/fail before getting character out of the PRESENT situation.  About 1/4 of the way through the story, have the character realize what the REAL problem is."

4. From the 25% point to the mid-point
"Initiate try/fails to solve the main problem."

5. Mid-point
"Around middle of the story have character realize he was going about obtaining goal the wrong way or that his/her assumptions were oh, soooo wrong."

6. 62% (between the mid-point and the 3/4 mark)
"Activate cunning plan.  (This normally doesn’t involve a turnip, on account of not being a Black Adder story.)"

7. 75% mark
"Try fail sequences set up about 3/4 through the story."

8. 88% mark
"Black moment about 1/8th from the end."

9. 95% to 100%
"[R]esolution and usually not much of what my husband calls a cigarette moment, because it’s a short."
I especially love Sarah's attention to detail in the first paragraph, breaking it into two. Let's face it, folks are probably going to decide whether they'll read your story based on the first few lines.

For Kicks And Giggles: A Possible Short Story Structure

I've tried to condense the hero's journey into something manageable for a short story and (as you'll be able to tell) I've borrowed liberally.

1. Set-up/Status quo/Ordinary World

The hero has a well-defined need but there is something specific keeping her from meeting this need. (Another way of saying this is, "The hero has a well-defined goal, but there is something specific keeping her from acquiring what she seeks.)

2. Call to adventure/Inciting incident

Something (perhaps something shocking) happens to break the status quo.

3. Hero's Response

The hero might vacillate for a short time while she weighs what accepting the call to adventure will mean for her (good opportunity for a sequel), but she ultimately accepts the call and enters a new, strange, intensely unfamiliar situation/world.

4. Trial and Error

The hero tries to attain her goal, to meet the need that we read about at the beginning of the story. She fails. Perhaps she fails spectacularly and humorously. Even though she failed, she succeeds at something. Perhaps she gains an ally because, even though she fails, she just won't give up.

Hero looks back. Thinks about going back to the status quo, what that would mean.

5. Mid-point/Point of no return (50%)

Hero tries to defeat the thing that is preventing her from getting what she needs.

Hero Succeeds: If hero succeeds then there has to be a twist. The person/thing they thought was the Big Bad really isn't. The real Big Bad is revealed.

Hero Fails: Stakes are raised. Perhaps she loses her allies, perhaps she's injured. She fought impressively but, because she still has a weakness, her enemy either got away or beat her.

Either way, the mid-point is a point-of-no return. Because of what happens in this scene the hero no longer has the option of going back to the ordinary world. Also, often, the hero makes the problem (overcoming the obstacles to achieving her goal) worse in an unexpected way.

Note: I mention the hero's weakness, above. Her weakness could be anything, but it's nice if it can be related to whatever it is INTERNALLY that keeps her from achieving her goal.

6. Setback

Our hero has failed (see (5)). She tries to go back to the status quo but realizes that's not possible. Time for reflection and perhaps a pep-talk. Or perhaps she hits bottom and starts fighting everything in sight and the experience revives her. (It could happen! ;)

7. Acceptance

Hero accepts her fate and trains, or otherwise works on removing what is keeping her from reaching her goal. Her weakness (usually an internal thing; e.g., a bad attitude) is diminishing. She is getting control over it.

Make sure your readers know 'the plan', how the hero is going to defeat what is preventing her from reaching her goal. If there is one crucial element of the plan it helps. For instance, the presence of her mentor.

8. All is lost (75%)

The one thing that absolutely can't fail for the plan to work does fail. All hope is lost. The hero will never be able to ....  You get the idea. I think the movie The Firm, with Tom Cruise, did this brilliantly.

But, wait, all hope is not lost. It's an incredible long-shot. It's insane, really, to even consider it, especially given that the hero failed at the midpoint. But maybe, just maybe, if the hero does [insert deed], there's a chance the plan can still work.

9. Final Attack 

It is essential that the hero act immediately. It is now much harder for the hero to succeed than it was at the mid-point and the stakes are much higher.

Something spectacularly improbable yet plausible, happens and the hero executes the plan. At the end of this scene she will triumph over whatever was keeping her from attaining her goal. She has worked through the weakness that caused her to fail at the mid-point.

10. Wrap-up

Have the hero say goodbye to her allies and go back to the ordinary world. Show how her ordinary world has been transformed because of her journey (because your hero is, in some ways, a different person).

In my outline I have it that the hero was successful, but they might not be. Also, the hero might not  willingly go back to the ordinary world, perhaps she returns for the sake of someone she left behind, or perhaps she's chased back.

Final Thoughts

Looking over the story structure I just detailed I wonder if a person could use it to write a short story, say one of 1,000 words. Perhaps it would be more suited to a story of 5,000 words (or so). But, who knows? Perhaps I'll try it tonight as a challenge.

I hope you've gotten something from this article, even if it has only highlighted the problem, how difficult it is to squeeze all that story goodness into the tiny vessel of a short story.

If any of you would like to share your short story structures I would LOVE to see them.

Every post I pick a book or audiobook I love and recommend it to my readers. This serves two purposes. I want to share what I’ve loved with you, and, if you click the link and buy anything over at Amazon within the next 24 hours, Amazon puts a few cents in my tip jar at no cost to you. So, if you click the link, thank you! If not, that’s okay too. I’m thrilled and honored you’ve visited my blog and read my post. :-)

Today I want to recommend "Story Structure: The Key to Successful Fiction" by William Bernhardt. From the blurb: "Story structure is one of the most important concepts for a writer to understand—and ironically, one of the least frequently taught. In this book, New York Times-bestselling author William Bernhardt explains the elements that make stories work, using examples spanning from Gilgamesh to The Hunger Games."

Other articles you might like:

- Before You Start Writing Test Your Characters: Are They Strong Enough?
- Dean Wesley Smith's Advice To Indie Authors For 2013: How To Sell Fiction
- Robert Sawyer Says: Don't Worry About What's Popular, Write What You Love

Photo credit: "Angels in fury" by Jsome1 under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.