Every Story Is an Escape Story

Escape Title shotHere’s a story theory of mine worth checking out:


…published today on the Write to Done website.

I mean it when I say, “Check it out.” The next film you see or novel or read, examine it for the escape story it most probably is.

And if you’re writing a story, see if your protagonist isn’t escaping from some kind of prison. Of the different kind of escapes possible, one of them is the key to writing fiction that gives readers their money’s worth.

I’d love to hear your thoughts once you’ve read the post. You can comment here below, or on the Write to Done site.

I’m living in both locations for a few days.



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  1. Jan says

    Hi PJ, Freeing yourself is one thing, accepting ownership of that freed self is another. What should be obvious may be still in the dark. What part of story does the light come on? Love this, it’s been pestering my thoughts.

  2. says

    Thanks so much, P.J. I related to this post on every level Will be sharing it on Inkubate later this week. Hope that you are doing well!
    Stacy Clark, Co-founder, Inkubate

  3. yvettecarol says

    Hi PJ, this marks the second time I’ve read your post on WritetoDone and left a lengthy comment. Each time it spits my comment out again and says, it doesn’t recognize my website URL. Sorry, pal, I tried!

  4. yvettecarol says

    p.s. your new blog site does not have a button to receive the responses via email. Therefore, I don’t know if you had a response to my comment on your first blog post here or not as I received no notification. Just thought I’d let you know….

  5. says

    Jan… yes, we still have to chose the gift of grace. Stories in which the protagonist rejects that gift and returns to the old status quo… that’s a tragedy.

  6. says

    Thanks, Stacy… yes, doing well, feeling better by the day as I approach the finish of THE WRITER IN LOVE. It’s something different, something I think you’ll enjoy. “How to love your protagonist” is what it’s all about. It’s also a trip up the Congo River. And beyond. Cheers.

  7. says

    Yvette… my sympathies. I had the same trouble as the host blogger trying to respond to comments. I just about went nuts. The system wouldn’t recognize me. I’ll have a word with the webmaster over there. They’re in your neighbourhood, aren’t they? Why don’t you go bang on their door! Tell them I sent you. Cheers.

  8. says

    Yvette… I’ll look into that. I just checked and you’re right — no function to receive updates on comments. Hmm. Isn’t technology fun. Grrr.

  9. says

    Kudos, PJ,
    Between ‘Story Structure To Die For’ and ‘Every Story is an Escape Story’, you seem to have blown the cover of an entire industry pretending that it is merely entertaining us. I would not at all be surprised if most screenwriters would react to your powerful insights with something like, “Aha! So that’s what I’ve been up to.” Might even encourage a lot of trench warfare screen scribes to give up the booze for a week or two :)

  10. says

    C.Y… “So that’s what I’ve been up to!” YES, I think that’s exactly why I’ve been beating this drum for so long. YES, I do believe our impulse to write fiction may be driven by this possibility of escaping our “petty spirits,” as Kazantkazkis might describe the unexamined life and everything in it.
    Sorry for the delay in replying but I’ve been en route Mexico. Will send pics soon.

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