I could have called this book No More Unfinished Novels — here’s why not
A link-bait title would have been nice, but misleading. This is not one of those bootcamp books about pushing through writers block — once you know how to complete a novel, motivation isn’t an issue! Nor is this a literary cookbook to teach you how to bake a perfect Hero’s Journey — I know you have your own stories to tell.
It’s called Storyteller Tools because that’s what it gives you — a handful of outlining tools to help you go from vision to your finished novel without losing the magic of the original idea.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, this is a one-off, one-shot, standalone self-contained book! There’s no need to buy your way through a series or to make a lifestyle out of attending seminars and retreats or lurking on writing forums.
It’s all in this one book and it’s one hell of a lot cheaper and shorter than an MFA.
In 2013, I wrote and sold three novels and started 2014 by doing the same with a fourth
By wrote I mean written from scratch, as from signing the contract to handing in the final draft. That’s how I make my living as a writer of franchise fiction. This isn’t hackwork (though I admit that there’s lots of hacking in my stories). Editors demand proper novels with characterisation, themes, pacing and plot. They also demand speed and reliability. That’s why I developed my storyteller tools.
You don’t want to write like me, but you do want my storytelling tools
We all have different stories to tell. I write stuff with sword fights and battles. Perhaps you’re more interested in Life’s Big Questions, lyrical landscapes, hi-tech futures, romantic dilemmas or Kirk and Spock’s erotic escapades? It doesn’t matter. We all of us face the same challenge.
The thing is, it’s easy enough to spin a yarn over coffee or a beer — What if…? Did you know that…? Suppose…? Once upon a time… — but very hard indeed to weave it into a finished novel. That’s what my storyteller tools are for.
They don’t tell you what to write — how could they? — but they do enable you to interrogate your vision and then work with the answers.
It really doesn’t matter what your original vision was as long as it fired you up.
You can start with a story no matter how vague
Do you have the broad sweep of the story — perhaps you’re writing about a real character with a known history — but you need to make it carry a 100,000 word novel?
My storyteller tools will help you discover what your story’s about and then fill in the blanks.
Are you drawn to broad themes ? What is best in life…? No problem. My storyteller tools can help with that too.
You can start with a just a story world
Are you writing Historical Fiction like me, or maybe trying to breathe life into a lovingly crafted future or a fantasy world? Use my storyteller tools to identify the forces at work in your world, embody them in characters and then get on with the writing.
Is your vision intense but patchy? You can see — say — the winged ninjas and the endless crumbling cities, but not much beyond that. Fine! My storyteller tools will help you build outward organically, discovering the story world then bringing it to life.
You can start with characters
Do you already know the story people and just need to find their story? Perhaps you’re writing fan fiction or maybe the characters always come to you first.
Use my storyteller tools to home in on the interesting conflicts — your own instincts will tell you what’s interesting once you can see it — and then nudge the characters into action.
My approach has major advantages
- It works in any direction. Start with characters. Start with a plot idea. Start with some free writing. Start with a hangover or a coffee buzz. Doesn’t matter! There’s a tool for you.
- It’s fun. Spawn then reject, then respawn possible novels with dizzying speed!
- It’s economical. Each change of direction, each new attempt, involves scrubbing a handful of words, not chapters!
- It’s fast. You need to be fast if you’re a professional or want to become one!
- It’s satisfying. Finish a work and move onto the next in months not years!
This is a handbook
No formulas, not much literary theory, no padding with little folksy tales of my life, and no attempt to inspire and enthuse you.
I’m not even going to try to sell you on my approach; try it and make up your own mind!
If the result seems a little short, consider that this book is a hell of a lot cheaper than all those tempting writer’s retreats and conferences.
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