How Stories Really Work


The material in this book is dangerous. In this fascinating study of fiction, which examines contemporary movies, Dickensian novels, Shakespearian plays, American sit-coms and much more, you will learn:

• what a story really is and what it is actually doing to and for readers

• the magnetic power that draws readers into a work of fiction even before the introduction of any character

• what the thing called a ‘character’ actually is, and the secrets of how to rapidly build a convincing one that attracts readers

• the things called ‘plots’, what they are and how they are actually made (rather than how you might suppose they are made)

• what ‘protagonists’ and ‘antagonists’ really are, and what the connection between them consists of

• the four categories of the powerful force that compels readers to turn pages