A fifth edition of my writing workbook, A Story is a Promise & The Spirit of
Storytelling, is now available on Kindle for $2.99.
This new edition explores what happens when story characters are an extension of authors and suggests
techniques for authors to create characters with fully realized inner lives; characters who are dyanmic
and come off the page for readers. The book includes a section titled
Deep Characterization, and a
revision of A Story is a Promise, with an outline of The Lovely Bones and updated reviews
of films like Inception.
Premise -- Foundation of Storytelling
Many writers struggle with understanding the difference between what a story is and character goals. This essay offers a method to create a one sentence story premise that sets out a story's dramatic foundation.
Stories and Feelings An essay about how stories function as a journey of feelings for a
Movies As Healing Journeys
This essay explores how movies can offer understanding of life's problems.
This article first appeared in
ScreenTalk, the International Magazine of
Essays that review novels....
Expressing Deeper Dramatic Truths
This essay reviews how Richard Yates conveys the dramatic truths of his characters
in the novel Revolutionary Road.
Question, Answer, Question
This essay reviews the preface to Twilight, the popular novel by
Stephenie Meyer. The process of engaging the attention of readers that I call question, answer,
question is explored. I speak about this process on this video posted on YouTube.
Notes on Inception. This essay explores how this film created a dazzling puzzle piece.
Writing a Novel With a Dual Timeline Notes on Sara Gruen's Water for Elephants This essay explores how to create a novel with multiple timelines through a review of this popular novel and
soon to be released movie.
A review of a movie that begins setting out its dramatic purpose and the promise of its story journey with its title.
The essay reviews how a story can advance along its story line while it seems to be going in circles along its plot line.
The Art of the Romantic Comedy
A review of Sleepless in Seattle that explores how this film structures its scenes to create a particular dramatic effect.
Stories and Ideas
This review of Toto le hero explores how a story's ideas are at the service of advancing a story toward its resolution and fulfillment. This is a partial review of the film. The full review is available in my workbook, A Story is a Promise.
Setting Out a Story's Dramatic Purpose, a review of the prologue of
The Exorcist that examines how the author set out
the dramatic purpose of the story -- an epic battle between
good and evil -- and began to deliver on that purpose in a
way that reassured his audience of his ability to tell a story.