Leonard Cohen’s Song to Donald Trump

leonard-cohen-2

What a week it was—still is! I’m still crying inside. Yes, Leonard Cohen sent me soaring into mourning. Gorging on his music these past few days, I realized how he helped me appreciate the value of struggle. His struggle was an art form. I saw Cohen perform on an intimate stage at the University of […]

Is Your Story Smarter than You Are?

MichaelBarnett-2016-4

Have you ever felt that the story you’re writing is wiser than you? If so, I suspect you’re lost or stuck. It also means that you’re writing something worth reading. I became deeply lost while writing Story Structure Expedition—Journey to the Heart of a Story. We were exploring up the Congo River in a steamer […]

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 […]

How (un)Smart Should a Writer Be?

How unSmart 2

If you’ve been reading my deep travel tales, you’ll know how un-smart I am. Count the times I’ve been run down on the road less traveled! I was barely home from my travels in Africa and Asia when the gods pulled a U-turn and made roadkill of me yet again. I was filming in the […]

“The HEART doesn’t show up as a structural element in most fiction formulas” ~ a Tweet

Are you searching heart

The fact that the Heart doesn’t show up in most fiction formulas is meant to alarm writers. One reader must have become alarmed after reading it in my new article: THE HEART OF THE STORY: What Is it, Where Is it, and How Do We Get There? I’m grateful to writer, Rahma Krambo, for Tweeting […]

When the Travel Bug Bites

IMG

I was tearing up a Zambian highway on my white Honda “Dream” when it hit me. I thought it was mud. A convoy of trucks thundering past in the opposite direction was kicking up debris. Even after the last tanker had passed, the flak was stinging my hands and face. What the hell—that mud?—bees! I […]

Does the Story Heart Exist?

SSXpedition FINAL

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 […]

If You Hate Story Structure

I hate story structure

I was browsing Amazon’s Kindle Store this morning. In the Story Structure Department I noticed a drama unfolding: “Writing by the rules” vs. “Organic writing.” On  one side it’s all structure and story engineering while the other camp is chanting, Don’t get it right, get it written! But hold on a minute. The traditionalists insist […]

How Good Stories End

The_Two_Faces_of_January_film_poster

[Previously titled: “And Love Has its Way with the World”] I’m not saying that The Two Faces of January is a great movie. But the Viggo Mortensen character serves to show how many good stories end. It goes like this… And love has its way with the world. You don’t hear it, no one says […]

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...