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

    Jenny… finally getting back to you re the heart of a trilogy. I’m not well versed in trilogies, I’m afraid. I wish I could remember more of my years-ago reading of Tolkein. Or my even-longer-ago reading of Lawrence Durrell’s “Alexandria Quartet”. Of course there’s the original Star Wars trilogy. In any event, the answer is that each book is built around what’s generally known as the “Act II crisis”. That’s my “heart of the story”. On-going sagas obviously need to keep the hero struggling, so all those “awakenings” along the way will be answered by an even greater threat to their liberation/ultimate victory. Where the human organism is concerned, there is always going to be another mountain to climb. Characters, after all, are “human”. We don’t want to hear about the exploits of a perfect being. Boring! And unrealistic. And doesn’t teach us anything. Even though we all aspire to perfection, and each small awakening may inch us ever closer. It will be helpful to remember as you write that readers are reading because they’re being nourished by the vicarious experience of suffering through the dark heart of the story. Just keep rendering those dark hearts darker… and your readers will never get enough. Keep in touch, Jenny. And let me know what other insights you discover about writing out there. We never stop learning.

  2. Jenny says

    Thanks for taking the time to respond to my comments. I have found writing one book hard enough, so writing a trilogy may be too ambitious. I’ve been editing my first novel on and off for a while now – it’s a bit of a mess! I really value your insights and will take a fresh look at my characters, and my story. I know that a good story needs contrast. The greater the contrast between parts of the story and between characters, the better, I suspect. It’s kind of you to suggest that I might have anything to teach you, but it would be a miracle if I came up with anything useful, since I’m just bumbling around in the dark here. (ha ha)
    Happy writing and thanks again.

  3. Janet B says

    PJ, thanks for being so generous with your knowledge. I am working
    on my first novel and want to absorb as much info as I can.

    Many thanks,

  4. says

    Hi PJ,
    Read your Editor kicked your A## blog on WriteToDone and loved it. Not enough editors like that around, and it makes us better writers, not that I am in your league yet, but wait, give me time.

    Am going to read your book now, thank you and hope to learn lots from it. Ubuntu: the meaning of this: We are who we are because of others. Thank you for sharing.

  5. says

    Thank you for the “ubuntu” word and concept. Haven’t heard of such, but I’m an Afri-Can at heart. I worked in Zambia for two years in my 20s. My next eBook may well have an African theme. With such in mind, Tess, tell me: what is your favourite African fictional protagonist? By “African”, I mean “story set in Africa”.

  6. says

    Geraldine… thanks for dropping by my website. My little story theory can’t but help you out… as most writing texts do. But each “how to” book should come with a warning, none better expressed than James W. Hall in his “Hit Lit”. He cautions writers not to forget their “honest passion”. I write about that in a recent blog post:

    You sound like you’re serious about getting something written… and that’s about all that counts. Onward!

  7. says

    When it comes to reading (whether for academic or for pleasure), my fave quote would that be of Francis Bacon: “Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider. Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested; that is, some books are to be read only in parts; others to be read, but not curiously; and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention. Some books also may be read by deputy, and extracts made of them by others; but that would be only in the less important arguments, and the meaner sort of books, else distilled books are like common distilled waters, flashy things. ”

    And trust your heart; or instinct if you want it that way. The person who can relate to the content of the book or find significance about the book, other than the author, is you – the reader. Of course, there are reviewers. But it would be foolish completely rely on reviewers to judge the value of the book. You, as a reader, have to read at least few pages before saying ‘it’s not worth it’. When I bought the book: The Mercury Visions of Louis Daquerre by Dominic Smith, I fell in love (not the kind of love I feel for my boyfriend. But a sudden feeling, an admiration for a thing fancied) with the first page; specifically the first paragraph: “When the vision came, he was in the bathtub.” It was intriguing. I thought that sentence means a lot. BTW, that book I would gave a 5 star; a rating I reserve for books of Umberto Eco.

  8. says

    I just finished reading Structure to Die For, and you’ve *opened my eyes* to the problem I’ve been having with my protagonist! What a terrific help! I knew my ending was predictable, and I needed to ramp up the tension and conflict, but while reading on Story Hearts and how the protagonist must die to her old ways — brainstorming has begun, and I think I know what needs to happen. She’s not going to like it (my MC), and frankly I’m not going to be all too happy writing it — I’ve found I’m much more reluctant to be evil to my characters than I thought I was. But now I know that I have to bite the bullet and push my MC to the edge — and then then over it. Thanks so much!

  9. says

    found you via your guest article on write to done, downloaded your book on the heart of a story, read it in two days (a record for me 😉 ) and signed up for your blog’s newsletter

    your book is an eye opener of a clarifier 😉

    where i thought i was probably dragging the reader down, being literary, and just darn outright ornery in my preferences, i find i was on the right path, or right hole 😉 in my stories

    i am very much appreciative, thank you 😉 best wishes!

  10. says

    Adan… thanks for your note. For the last three years my blog has been about shining a light into the Story Heart. If I’m persistant, it’s because no one else it talking about it. Welcome to the discussion. Btw… I checked out your blog…you’ve got an original web presence…comprised of photos and poetry. Congrats!

  11. says

    thanks pj 😉 photos and poems, images and words, have been a part of me for a very long time, though, fiction is something i’ve only recently come back to, after many many decades – it’s been a fun round trip so far

    looking fwd to exploring more of your articles, have three tabs up for later reading 😉

  12. says

    I love what I read so far. I could not download the ebook, but the title is fascinating. I look forward to trying again, because it’s probably the fault of my browser.

  13. says

    Valrie… “Story Structure to Die for” is only available right now on as a Kindle eBook for $2.99. Do you have a Kindle? If not, you can download a free app: Kindle for PC. Good Luck.

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