Following on the heels of Lisa Cron's breakout first book, Wired for Story, this writing guide reveals how to use cognitive storytelling strategies to build a scene-by-scene blueprint for a riveting story.
It’s every novelist’s greatest fear: pouring their blood, sweat, and tears into writing hundreds of pages only to realize that their story has no sense of urgency, no internal logic, and so is a page one rewrite.
The prevailing wisdom in the writing community is that there are just two ways around this problem: pantsing (winging it) and plotting (focusing on the external plot). Story coach Lisa Cron has spent her career discovering why these methods don’t work and coming up with a powerful alternative, based on the science behind what our brains are wired to crave in every story we read (and it’s not what you think).
In Story Genius Cron takes you, step-by-step, through the creation of a novel from the first glimmer of an idea, to a complete multilayered blueprint—including fully realized scenes—that evolves into a first draft with the authority, richness, and command of a riveting sixth or seventh draft.
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About the Author
LISA CRON has worked as a literary agent, a TV producer, and a story consultant for Warner Brothers, the William Morris Agency, and many others. She is a frequent speaker at writers’ conferences, and a story coach for writers, educators, and journalists. She teaches in the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program, is on the faculty of the School of Visual Arts MFA in Visual Narrative Program, and is the author of Wired for Story. She splits her time between Santa Monica, California, and New York, New York.
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Excerpted from "Story Genius"
Copyright © 2016 Lisa Cron.
Excerpted by permission of Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony/Rodale.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
PART I. WHAT A STORY IS, AND WHAT IT ISN’T
Story: The Brain’s Decoder Ring 9
Myths Galore: Everything We Were Taught About Writing Is Wrong 19
PART II. CREATING THE INSIDE STORY
The What If? Expectation, Broken! 35
The Who: Whose Life Will You Utterly Upend? 53
The Why: Why, Exactly, Does Your Protagonist Care? 67
The Worldview: Your Protagonist’s, That Is 85
What Next? The Beauty of Cause and Effect 105
The When: An Offer Your Protagonist Can’t Refuse (But Probably Wants To) 123
PART III. CREATING AN EXTERNAL GAUNTLET TO SPUR YOUR PROTAGONIST’S INTERNAL STRUGGLE
9 The Opening: Of Your Novel and of the Story Genius Blueprinting System 147
10 The Real “Aha!” Moment: Where Will Your Story End? 165
11 Building Your Blueprint: How to Keep Track of All the Moving Parts 187
12 Going Back to Move Forward: How to Harvest the Past to Set Up the Plot 195
13 Story Logic: Making Sure Each “What” Has a “Why” 209
14 The Secret to Layering: Subplots, Storylines, and Secondary Characters 223
15 Writing Forward: Stories Grow in Spirals 245