We all know how to tell stories just like we all know our native language, having heard both since we were born. People, however, who study their native language discover there’s much they misunderstood or simply didn’t know. The same is true of story when we look at it more carefully.
With topics that include the theory of story as model, the fractal key to narrative complexity, and the art of the long form, this volume will show you the essence of stories and storytelling.
It’s advanced stuff—no writing prompts or exercises here—but if you want to understand how stories are the minimum container of significance, how storytelling is like commanding an artillery battery, and why the three easy steps are, 1) lather, 2) rinse, and 3) repeat, this volume is for you.And like deep magic, once you comprehend the nature of the art, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a master story weaver.
Trained as an anthropologist, engineer, and historian, Deren Hansen brings a unique structural perspective to the conversation about writing and the writing life.
In terms of objective reality, a work of fiction is an elaborate lie. No writer thinks of themselves as a liar simply because they write fiction, but that’s the fact of the matter. And no other writing guide will admit to teaching you to be a better writer by showing you how to be a better liar—at least in a narrative sense.
A good lie rings true. Verisimilitude, or the appearance of truth, is critical in a novel because readers open the book knowing it is fiction. Their willingness to suspend disbelief is like a house of cards—if you make one wrong narrative move the illusion of truth falls apart.This volume looks at the ways in which you can break the illusion in your writing and how to avoid them; it explores what you can do to increase the degree of verisimilitude in your stories; and shows why less really is more. You will learn how to satisfy readers with strategic detail, reassure them you know what you’re talking about, and convince them they can trust you as a storyteller.
Like real life, the writing life is filled with contradictions and perplexities. The world of commercial publishing is counterintuitive and writers dive in weighed down with misconceptions, delusions, and unrealistic expectations.
Perhaps because most of us write in some form every day we believe we can—and should—write a book. We also assume writing is the hard part and once our manuscript is finished publishers will line up for the privilege of delivering it to the world. This is why many people who say they want to write really mean they want to have written.This volume offers a sober perspective on the writing life: what writing for money is really about and what you need to be prepared to do in order to endure its rigors. Once you understand what’s actually going on, you’ll be able to steer a clear-headed course as you participate in the great conversation. And you’ll come out the other side with your sanity—and dreams—intact.
In order to master the craft of writing and the art of storytelling you must internalize the rhythms of the human experience and the ways we share that experience. There are deep and consistent patterns in the ways we tell stories, weave narrative illusions, and develop fascinating characters.
This collection includes three Dunlith Hill Writing Guides:
Story Theory: How to Write Like J.R.R. Tolkien in Three Easy Steps
Verisimilitude: How Illusions, Confidence Games, and Skillful Lying can Improve Your Fiction
Character and Archetype: How to Make Readers Fall in Love with your Imaginary FriendsWhen you understand and apply the simple but powerful patterns taught in these guides, you will be well on your way to becoming a masterful writer.
One inescapable fact about our species is that we’re social animals: people are at the center of our universe. We have a long history of trying to understand the natural world by personifying its aspects. That’s why believable characters make or break our stories.
A novel, however, is not a portrait. What readers really want is to see how interesting characters act and transform themselves over the course of your story.This guide explores the structural underpinnings of character and characterization in terms of mythic cycles of transformation like the Hero’s Journey and the Virgin’s Promise. Once you understand these patterns your characters will ring true and your readers will believe in them, too.