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Story Engineering

Book Description

What makes a good story or a screenplay great?

The vast majority of writers begin the storytelling process with only a partial understanding where to begin. Some labor their entire lives without ever learning that successful stories are as dependent upon good engineering as they are artistry. But the truth is, unless you are master of the form, function and criteria of successful storytelling, sitting down and pounding out a first draft without planning is an ineffective way to begin.

Story Engineering starts with the criteria and the architecture of storytelling, the engineering and design of a story--and uses it as the basis for narrative. The greatest potential of any story is found in the way six specific aspects of storytelling combine and empower each other on the page. When rendered artfully, they become a sum in excess of their parts.

You'll learn to wrap your head around the big pictures of storytelling at a professional level through a new approach that shows how to combine these six core competencies which include:

  • Four elemental competencies of concept, character, theme, and story structure (plot)
  • Two executional competencies of scene construction and writing voice
The true magic of storytelling happens when these six core competencies work together in perfect harmony. And the best part? Anyone can do it!

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Title Page
  3. Dedication
  4. Praise
  5. Table of Contents
  6. Introduction
  7. Part One: What Are the Six Core Competencies … and Why Should I Care?
    1. 1 The Power of a Fresh Storytelling Model
    2. 2 The Six Core Competencies—A 10,000-Foot View
    3. 3 Defining the Six Core Competencies
    4. 4 Launching the Storytelling Process
  8. Part Two: The First Core Competency–Concept
    1. 5 Concept—Defined
    2. 6 The Criteria for Concept
    3. 7 How Do You Know If Your Concept Is Good Enough?
  9. Part Three: The Second Core Competency–Character
    1. 8 The Fundamental Essence of Character
    2. 9 The Three Dimensions of Character
    3. 10 Character Unmasked
    4. 11 The Human Nature of Character
    5. 12 Creating Backstory
    6. 13 Interior vs. Exterior Conflict
    7. 14 Crafting a Character Arc
    8. 15 Character—The Sum of the Parts
  10. Part Four: The Third Core Competency–Theme
    1. 16 Defining Theme
    2. 17 Implementing Theme
    3. 18 Theme and Character Arc
  11. Part Five: The Fourth Core Competency–Story Structure
    1. 19 The Need for Structure
    2. 20 Story Structure vs. Story Structure
    3. 21 The Big Picture of Story Structure
    4. 22 The First Box: Part 1—The Set-Up
    5. 23 The Second Box: Part 2—The Response
    6. 24 The Third Box: Part 3—The Attack
    7. 25 The Fourth Box: Part 4—The Resolution
    8. 26 The Role of Story Milestones
    9. 27 Writing to Publish: The Most Important
    10. 28 Five Missions for the Set Up of Your Story
    11. 29 A Deeper Look at Foreshadowing
    12. 30 The Most Important Moment in Your Story:
    13. 31 A Kinder, Gentler First Plot Point
    14. 32 Shades of Gray: A Somewhat Liberating
    15. 33 Expanding Your Grasp of the Part 2 Response
    16. 34 Wrapping Your Head Around the Mid-Point
    17. 35 Commencing the Part 3 Attack
    18. 36 Pinch Points
    19. 37 The Second Plot Point
    20. 38 The Final Act
    21. 39 The Single Most Powerful Writing Tool
    22. 40 The Six Most Important Words in Storytelling
    23. 41 Outlining vs. Organic Storytelling
  12. Part Six: The Fifth Core Competency–Scene Execution
    1. 42 The Essential Nature of Scenes
    2. 43 The Function of Scenes
    3. 44 A Checklist for Your Scenes
  13. Part Seven: The Sixth Core Competency–Writing Voice
    1. 45 Finding Your Voice
    2. 46 The Best Writing Analogy I Know
    3. 47 More Musings on Voice
  14. Part Eight: The Story Development Process
    1. 48 Getting It Written
    2. 49 The Pantser’s Guide to Story Planning
    3. 50 FROM HOW WE DO THIS TO WHY WE DO THIS
  15. About the Author
  16. Copyright