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Johne last won the day on July 13

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About Johne

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  1. ...according to Dorothy Parker. Steven Brust is a protege to the late, great Roger Zelazny. I've followed him - and corresponded with him - since his debut novel in 1983. On FB today he wrote:
  2. Valerie Francis notes that the Psychological Thriller genre is changing in her comments on the Story Grid Editor's Roundtable discussion of THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN. https://storygrid.com/editor-roundtable-girl-on-the-train/ Heh. You're preaching to the choir. I'm desperate for writers to return to more of an old-school aesthetic when it comes to writing SF. We live in a nihilistic world but it's a lie - if Man was created in the image of God as scripture says we have the capacity for Wonder and I see what I perceive as a deliberate move away from Wonder (which I interpret as a move away from God). We don't have to settle for that, and I'm glad to see authors who aren't afraid to look to the stars and marvel.
  3. This is fair. The conventions / obligatory scenes thing comes from other Masterworks which have come before and while they're fairly stable some genres are changing right in front of our eyes. (The Psychological Thriller springs to mind.) An instant classic for sure. They don't write like Heinlein's earlier work any more, and that's a shame. His juveniles are a big reason I fell in love with SF.
  4. I think we're both pitching a similar thing - keeping an open mind about embracing the virtues of story structure. (I wasn't a fan until I had my lightbulb moment and now I can't stop evangelizing.)
  5. I can think of two things off the top of my head: Read this. It's a Hugo and Nebula award-winner for a reason. (This is the book where Card argued that LOTR is a different kind of story than I thought and I think he's right.) Science Fiction is a Marketing genre (where you look for a book on store shelves). Once you figure out your Content genre, your novel conventions and obligatory scenes will fall into place. My current novel presents as a Fantasy / Noir for the Marketing genre but it's fundamentally a Thriller under-the-hood and that tells me I need a MacGuffin, red herrings, a false ending, and so forth. And I have all those things! Knowing there are certain things which tend to show up in each Content genre can really give you a leg up as you lay your story out. https://storygrid.com/secrets-of-the-thriller-genre-part-one/
  6. Hi, (robg213), I'm Johne (with the silent vanity 'e').
  7. Steven Pressfield has a message for you from your agent - when you're writing your first book, start thinking about the next one. https://stevenpressfield.com/2019/11/your-agent-wants-a-second-book/
  8. You don't have to tell anyone you have the wisdom of the ancients in order to benefit from the information. Learning about the fundamental foundations of how to craft a story that works is for everyone! It sounds like a lot but the principles are so practical that it's worth dipping your toe in and seeing how useful this teaching is.
  9. I would be remiss if I didn't include this: On Writing, by Stephen King.
  10. David Farland says that you can get away with one impossibility. https://mailchi.mp/xmission/david-farlands-writing-tips-one-impossibility
  11. The first thing you need to do is figure out your genre to manage audience expectations. Here's a free video which helps you figure all that out.
  12. I'm glad you mentioned this - the Plotting Madness Boot Camp I attended in Lake Tahoe in September was based on this book and Layer Your Novel, also by Susanne Lakin.
  13. I know others are going to suggest some of the same classics I could so I go with some books that maybe aren't as well known. The Story Grid - this is the tome that showed me why understanding story structure is so vital and so helpful. It is more helpful than all the rest of the HOWTO books I've read, combined. The Art of Fiction, by John Gardner. This is how I learned I was an Ambivert. Gardner describes himself as 'a gregarious loner.' Me too, friend. How To Write Science Fiction & Fantasy, by Orson Scott Card. This book won Card both the Nebula and the Hugo, and for good reason. It is required reading if you're into F/SF. Creating Short Fiction, by Damon Knight. This is the definitive work for how to write F/SF short stories. This is where I learned about Fred, what Knight called your creative subconscious. Let's say I have a particularly thorny problem and I can't figure out what to do next. As I'm going to bed I'll think about the problem in detail, then I'll turn my brain off and nod off to sleep. More often than not, I'll have the answer waiting for me when I wake up. It's like a magic trick. This is where I learned how to do that, among other things.
  14. Speaking for myself, I didn't know what I didn't know. You know my story - I'd written a 55k word draft of THE BLUE GOLEM for NaNo2014 but couldn't finish the epic battle sequence at the end. It wasn't until I dug into the Story Grid that I learned two reasons why that sequence was all wrong. I can't wait to finish this book so I can dive into the sequel. If this first book takes five years and change, I'm hoping I can finish the sequel in a year, and the third in nine months. Learning about story structure has made a world of difference in how fast I can develop new material. For example, when I was in Lake Tahoe to plot out the sequel, I thought it would be a Thriller under-the-hood like its predecessor, but when I realized it was shaping up to be a Crime novel, that informed my Global Life Value (Tyranny to Justice) and that identified my conventions and obligatory scenes (some which are the same and some which are distinct from the Thriller). That not only made crafting the thirty key scenes easier, it should make writing the novel easier. https://storygrid.com/secrets-of-the-crime-genre/
  15. Writing a good summary is a learned skill. I wrote all the blurbs for my Space Opera e-zine back in the day. If writing a summary is hard, you'd think writing a blurb is even harder but they fell off my fingers like apples off trees.
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