Does the Story Heart Exist?

SSXpedition FINAL

Only 99 cents!

I’ve stumbled along on the writer’s journey long enough to learn one thing above all else:

We don’t write to explain, we write to find out.

Boy, did I find out.

Story Structure Expedition: Journey to the Heart of a Story is two years’ worth of finding out.

It launches today as an eBook on Amazon.com. Ninety-nine cents!

Two years of finding out the hard way, I might add.

I discovered what it’s like to be a writer trapped as a protagonist in his own fiction. It sounds crazy, I know. The more impossible my fantasy became, the more I knew something original might be happening on the page.

“A mind-bending whiplash journey,” says one beta reader, “into the heart of how and why a writer can write…memorable stories.”

Truth is, I headed up that jungle river with no such hifalutin hopes. My trip was fueled by a single question:

Does the story heart exist?

Does the story heart exist?

As if the heart’s existence needed proving, which I’m afraid it does, though perhaps not to anyone with the instinct to open a book that promises an expedition to that very heart.

Does the story heart exist?—I let this central question fire me up, can you tell? Listen to this, from the book’s Introduction:

[The heart] exists, all right. Ask the riverboat captain in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. Though the heart is hidden upriver, Captain Marlow can smell it leaking. The dread essence lures him to the far side of sanity. He sure found out the hard way.

Ask Rick, the American expat in the movie, Casablanca. Mention the heart and he’ll break into a sweat as surely as if you were marching him at gunpoint to the brink of the abyss. “Go ahead, shoot me,” he says. “You’ll be doing me a favour.” Those are the words of a protagonist on the threshold of the story heart.

Ask that pair of mismatched mavericks in Out of Africa—the baroness Karen Blixen and the hunter Denys Finch Hatton. The heart of their story—as in so many of the best stories—lies in the surrender of the protagonist’s hardened principles. But to relinquish one’s precious beliefs is to die. So, die!

If I was to fulfill my role as protagonist in my own book, I might be required to go that far. How does a protagonist manage that? He can’t, of course. That’s the job of his writer. Which explains why I had to bring her on my jungle journey, dammit. It was all I could do not to throw her overboard.

(I mean, what kind of book is this, anyway?)

What kind of book is this?

Here’s what another pre-reader said about it:

A “metaphorical, philosophical, crossover between prayer, meditation, marching orders, poetry and fiction, that will tantalize your imagination and your soul.”

(I’m not making this up, I’m happy to say.)

Early readers of Story Structure Expedition: Journey to the Heart of a Story are at least enjoying the premise of a metaphysical search. In fact, many questions flow from the central question:

  • Would fiction have become our lifelong obsession if it had no heart?
  • Would stories ring true?
  • Wherever else should their meaning lie?
  • If not for the story heart, how would readers get their money’s worth?
  • Why would we even read fiction?
  • Why would we bother to write it?

Does the story heart exist?

You be the judge.

In the spirit of a book launch you can help bump this baby into visibility on Amazon’s best-seller page by grabbing an e-copy of it this week for 99 cents. And if you feel your mind bending a wee bit, go ahead and leave a short review on Amazon.

All of you, thank you. Whether or not you have the time to support this launch, thank you for being an important part of my life.

I do it for you.

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Comments

  1. says

    Such an expedition! Just imagine it. First, you create yourself as a protagonist. Then, you sign on in the company of your writer and the most memorable characters you have ever read, and steer your boat against the current upon the metaphor of the Congo, the most frightening river that has haunted your life since you experienced its unfathomable face. There you all are, fighting upstream toward disaster, and the force that breaths life now and forever. Such an idea takes such a mind as yours to conceive, a master to write, and the humility of a lifetime to offer. Thanks.

  2. says

    Hey, Sue… wanna be my publicist? That’s a dramatic testimony! Glad to have you on my side. I just wish I was half the writer you are.

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