Story Structure to Die For by PJ Reece

Story Structure to Die For

~ A Key to Writing Focused Fiction

“Profound in [its] insights into the nature not merely of screenwriting
but narrative expression in any and all forms, formats, and media.”

~ Richard Walter, UCLA Screenwriting Chairman

Click here to buy at ~ only $2.99

About The Book

provides a key to writing focused fiction.

What are a story’s most basic building blocks? (Not what you’ve been taught.)

What and where is the heart of your story? (Writing manuals don’t mention such a thing.)

What makes a hero truly heroic? (You’d be surprised.)


recounts one writer’s near-miss in Hollywood
and his twenty-year search for “how fiction REALLY works”.
What he discovered will surprise you.

PJ Reece has been a full-time writer for 25 years.
His paradigm for how to structure a story
has developed through his work in television, journalism,
filmmaking, screenwriting, and published fiction.

STORY STRUCTURE TO DIE FOR is essential reading
for anyone who has ever wondered why readers read and why writers write.
The secret lies behind a literary blind spot.

You won’t find analysis like this anywhere else.

Click to buy now at ~ only $2.99

What folks are saying about 


Richard Walter, UCLA Screenwriting Chairman
“Great! Breezy and engaging but at the same time profound in [its] insights.”
Donaleen Saul, writing coach,
“If you want to remain comfortably enveloped in your ideas about writing and life, don’t read this book.”
C. Michaels, author
“Yesterday was a turning point for my writing. I know exactly what to do now to make my story better. My clouds cleared and the sun is shining in my head.”
Ramon Kubicek, writer and educator
“[Reece] has managed to find a way of showing us what really counts in a work of fiction. My advice: just read his book.”


  1. says

    Thanks for the opportunity to read your book at such a good price! And thanks for the wisdom and advice that seems to pervade your site, your essays and articles, and your blog.

  2. John Gordon says

    AMEN to C. Michaels: “Yesterday was a turning point for my writing. I know exactly what to do now to make my story better. My clouds cleared and the sun is shining in my head.”
    I had been thinking I was nearly ready to submit my mystery novel. Now I know what needs to be done. And it won’t happen overnight!

  3. says

    John… thanks for letting me know how my ideas are coming across. Because, as i may have said, ‘A writer never knows for sure if he’s making sense.’ Onward!

  4. Sarah says

    Following PJ’s approach thrust my first novel’s third draft into a central Slough of Despond, where the walls of my protagonist’s “little mental assumptions” fizzled and brought her to red blooded life. Only then could I appreciate how insipid she had been before. Share PJ’s tough love towards your fictional heroines and heroes, and as we Mazatlan Writers have discovered, fire will crackle under your keyboard. Story Structure to Die For ignites passionate fiction. It’s a souffle of a book that packs a Rocky Balboa punch

  5. says

    Sarah… a “souffle”!! That’s great. There’s no one that can’t stomach a souffle. Melts in the mouth, slides down the throat, easy to digest. Thanks, Sarah.

  6. says

    Thanks for the book. It feeds my addiction. My contribution is a quote from Joseph L. Mankiewicz. “The difference between art and life is – art must make sense.”

    Author – Do The Write Thing: Making The Transition to Professional and Reel Romance: Writing Sex, Love and Romance for the Movies

  7. says

    Thanks for sharing your many years of experience with others. I am delighted to have this opportunity to learn from your years in the business. I will certainly give you my comments and my “Eureka” moments!

  8. says

    Fiona…thanks for your thoughts…all the way from South Africa? I spent two years in Zambia as a hydrologist many years ago. Please share the download link with your writer friends in S.A. if you feel my little book has something to offer. Cheers. PJ

  9. Ann Gordon says

    Thank you for offering this book. Awesome! It is just what I have been looking for.

  10. says

    I am working (read: struggling) on my second novel.
    Thank you so much for all the words of wisdom (read: clarity).
    It makes perfect sense!
    I know where to go now!

  11. says

    Thank you so much for “passing it on”. I have downloaded your book and look forward to reading it with great interest and appreciation. Regards, Lyn.

  12. says

    This is a fantastic book. Clear, concise, and filled with ‘ah hah’ moments (and wonderful humor and perspective). I’m inspired to go back to my stories and see what changes I can make. Thank you. Ellen

  13. Jenny says

    Hi P.J
    Thanks so much for your insights and your beautifully presented ebook…. congrats to all involved! The layout was both artistic and easy to read. It’s rare for me to read an e-book straight through at first sitting, but yours just seemed to flow on naturally and seamlessly. I’d love to know more.
    I’ve never liked following rules very much when it comes to creative work, so I was intrigued by your less conventional views on how to write a winning story ( stories), and I have a question or two. Is there only one dark heart in a book or can there be degrees of “dark hearts” ? Is it melodramatic, or overdone to have all your main characters go through a change of mind and heart? One of the things I have often noticed in books is how little the characters change. Maybe this is ‘normal’ given people’s natural resistance to change, or to thinking in new ways.
    I am writing a fantasy trilogy, so where would the heart of the story occur in this situation? Book 1, book 2, book 3, or in each of them? I would love to know what you think. I know that fantasy novels are usually regarded as lesser beings in the book world, but I’m not letting that stop me writing the highest quality story that I can.

    Thanks again. Keep on seeing/hearing yourself giving that award winning speech; clutching your gold statue in one sweaty palm, and beaming fit to bust!

  14. says

    Jenny… thanks for you kind comments. You speak of “degrees of dark hearts”. Many of the best stories take the protagonist through a series of let-downs, each one a nail in his coffin, so to speak. I’m thinking now of George Clooney in “Up in the Air”. His “awakening” comes through a marvelous series of scenes that hammer home the truth of his empty existence. Check it out. Regarding all your characters “growing” relentlessly through a story… I’d think that the main thrust of the story would be diluted by such “success”. UNLESS all those other awakenings served to help the protagonist realize his own delusional existence. Yes, most stories maintain characters in their status quo… and some of the best stories only show the protagonist barely gaining a new insight. But if they’ve been a tough nut to crack, then even this tiny sliver of light making its way to their interior can be much to celebrate. You’re right in saying that we have a “natural resistance to change”, and that should play a part in the awakening process. A character has an insight and REJECTS it! Yes. Again and again until…

    I’ll come back to your question about where to place the story heart in a trilogy. I’ve never had to deal with that. Cheers.

  15. Jenny says

    Hi P.J
    Thanks for your detailed answer. It gives me some things to ponder. I’ve not seen the George Clooney film you mentioned. I’m not a G.C fan but may take a look at the film to see what you are referring to.
    You said…. “Regarding all your characters “growing” relentlessly through a story… I’d think that the main thrust of the story would be diluted by such “success”. ”
    I agree with your statement but I only mentioned “a change of mind and heart”. This could be a small change or insight. We all have ah-hah moments, if we are open to them. Relentless change sounds horrible, mate. I wasn’t really talking about that intensity of personal growth.
    Possibly, your two-stories-with-a-shared-heart theory relates more to ‘literary’ novels, than to fantasy stories. Mind you, when I think of Tolkien’s, “Lord of The Rings”, quite a few of his characters had what I would call great shifts in thinking, not just the main protagonist. Although, only Frodo’s “death” was written about in great detail.
    I’ll have to think about this a bit more. Thank you so much for inspiring new thought and awareness regarding my writing. I’m sure that my story will be better for it.
    I look forward to your answer regarding the placement of the ‘heart’ in a trilogy.

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