A Little Snippet from 'How Stories Really Work'


You’re a writer, or you want to be one.

You write, or want to write, something that someone else wants to read, wants to find fulfilling, and wants enough to pay you money for it.

Sounds simple, and it is - but there’s an awful lot of complexity that can enter into that equation.

Chances are that you have run into at least one of the three most common barriers that any writer strikes:

1. You aren’t actually writing.

This is the big one. You call yourself a writer, you really want to be a writer, your head is overflowing with ideas -but you aren’t actually doing it. Your life is swallowed up by work, by children, by routines and relationships and remorseless demands which work against you actually sitting down and writing. This is the most common barrier: writers don’t write.

2. You are writing, but you are not happy with the result.

Second biggest issue: you have commenced writing, perhaps you have even finished a first draft -but it’s no good. You know it’s not working. When you read it back to yourself -or, heaven forbid! to another- it sounds trite, boring, full of clichés. It wanders; it lacks drama; it doesn’t end properly. Characters don’t leap into life; the dialogue seems dull or unreal. In short, though you are proud of yourself for actually producing something, you know that it is a failure as a work of art.

3. You are writing, have produced something reasonable, but no one wants to publish it.

You’re circulating a manuscript either among friends or among publishers, but get only rejection letters. Your friends are polite; even the publishers are polite -but no one is gagging to print and distribute your masterpiece to the hungry masses. It’s just a dead weight, costing you postage.

The good news is that each one of these barriers has a remedy, and all the remedies are described in How Stories Really Work in such a way that you will be able to apply them with relative ease to yourself and your own work once you grasp those remedies.

You can be a writer, and you can be successful; you can spot exactly what’s wrong with your writing and fix it: your work can be moulded into shape and it can be made attractive to others, even publishers.

That’s because there is a way of doing fiction properly -i.e. so that it works.

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