Super simple Story Structure

How I Lied my Way to the Truth

I just completed a Reece piece titled: “Everything You Need to Know about Story Structure (in 5 minutes).” Catchy headline, yes? You’ll be happy to know that I feel a tad disingenuous about it. We all know very well that the study of story mechanics can fill years. And yet, when I was done, my […]

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Try this Story Fix — Before You even Start

You’ve invested time and money studying “story.” (You can’t imagine how much I’ve spent!) After reading all those writing manuals, we are “story structure” engineers. We could be teaching story structure. In fact, I do! And yet— Where’s the prize-winning novel? Where’s my Oscar for Best Screenplay? I’m sitting here at my desk, staring at […]


When Critics Say, ‘Hey, you can’t do that!’

Two years an eBook—now in print—STORY STRUCTURE EXPEDITION: Journey to the Heart of a Story. It continues to draw rave reviews, such as: What the hell sort of book is this, anyway? It doesn’t teach us how to do anything. It’s a “how-to” book that morphs into a novella. You can’t do that! I recently […]


Leonard Cohen’s Song to Donald Trump

What a week it was—still is! I’m still crying inside. Yes, Leonard Cohen sent me soaring into mourning. Gorging on his music these past few days, I realized how he helped me appreciate the value of struggle. His struggle was an art form. I saw Cohen perform on an intimate stage at the University of […]


What’s the BIG IDEA?

Does your story have a BIG IDEA? I bet it does. I rarely begin a story with the BIG IDEA in mind. But when it strikes, as it did recently while writing a short story, I felt inspired to write this post. The title of my story says it all: The Boy Who Didn’t Want […]


Is Your Story Smarter than You Are?

Have you ever felt that the story you’re writing is wiser than you? If so, I suspect you’re lost or stuck. It also means that you’re writing something worth reading. I became deeply lost while writing Story Structure Expedition—Journey to the Heart of a Story. We were exploring up the Congo River in a steamer […]

Give your Muse a Break: Let Fear Fuel your Fiction

Do you wait for the muse to ignite your imagination? And wait, and wait, and wait— Then, consider fueling your fiction with an ever-ready  source of inspiration. FEAR. Our characters lead us places we’d rather not go—that’s the fear I’m talking about. Of course, we don’t want to go down that road, but then why […]

Great Escape

All Stories Are Escape Stories

“Every story is an escape story.” I’ve taped that slogan to the wall of my work station. It clarifies my character’s trajectory. It helps my story “come true” because it acknowledges a fact of our human condition: We are all escaping something. That notion hijacked my brain after a decade of professionally assessing and writing […]

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