All Stories Are Escape Stories

Great Escape

“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 […]

Why the Hero Must Die

SS2D4 new cover

I teach the “2-story” story. Never mind the three-act structure, the best stories can be said to consist of two stories separated by a bottomless hole. Where the hero “dies.” STORY ONE—from the opening line to the protagonist’s loss of faith in him/herself. STORY TWO—the protagonist emerges from the hole armed with the moral authority […]

So, You Think You Know What a Story Is

Reading a story

If you do know, for God’s sake, tell me. I’m teaching a course in the fine art of blitzing a 1st draft and it occurred to me that I ought to know what a story is. A definition of story, I’ll start with that. A writer who knows exactly what a story is will write […]

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