Routes for Writers, Part 1: The Learning Pathway
It may not have occurred to you, but there are a number of routes opening up to you as a writer through Clarendon House Publications.
The first of these is what I’ll call the ‘Learning Pathway’.
This begins with the free e-book Your Biggest Challenge as a Writer - and What To Do About It, which is available for anyone to download here.
This sets out how writers can make the necessary changes in their lives to defeat the twin enemies of Lack of Time and Procrastination which bedevil many writers and keep them pinned down, unable to free up enough attention to contribute to the culture in any meaningful way. Following the principles outlined in this book should empower individuals to generate sufficient work so that they actually becomes writers, in real terms.
As they are developing a lifestyle which encourages and enables writing, writers are now able to benefit from various books published by Clarendon House over recent months and years, including 7 Secrets of Successful Stories. This short e-book is about the essence of storytelling, and how writers use Ideas, Characters and ancient models to convey pretty much whatever message they like, in ways that many writers never suspected - though they will seem obvious to you once you see them. The book has been especially designed to be accessible - it’s only £2.99 - and reduces some large ideas down to ‘bite-size chunks’ so that you can begin applying them right away. It comes complete with a bonus section on how to revitalise any work of fiction.
That’s available here.
If writers are ready to learn the real axioms behind how fiction works, there’s the popular, five-star-rated paperback How Stories Really Work, available here. As you may have heard already, in this book you’ll find out what a story really is and what it is actually doing to and for readers. How Stories Really Work breaks down the magnetic power that attracts readers even before the introduction of any character in such a way that you will understand, perhaps for the first time, what it is exactly that makes you turn a book’s pages. We often refer to this as being ‘gripped’ by a story, but what exactly is doing the ‘gripping’ and how?
You’ll also discover what the thing called a ‘character’ actually is, and how to rapidly build a convincing one as well as receive an education about ‘plots’, what they are and how they are actually made.
I say ‘actually’ a lot because there is so much other data out there about how to do these things which simply doesn’t cut to the heart of the matter as this book does. You may be familiar with ‘Hero’s Journeys’ and three act structures and ‘hooks’ and ‘inciting incidents’ and all the rest of that kind of terminology, but nowhere is it explained how exactly it all fits together and what mechanisms are working in the background of all fiction to make it function successfully. How Stories Really Work explains what ‘protagonists’ and ‘antagonists’ really are, and what the connection between them consists of; it gives you a detailed description of the four categories of the powerful force that compels readers to turn pages and tells you all about the ‘nuclear reactor’ that drives all successful stories through to their conclusions.
Not only that, but you will discover how the four basic genres - Epic, Tragedy, Irony and Comedy - are composed and how they work to create different effects, and much, much more.
However, if a writer, having read all of the above, still struggles to apply it all to his or her own work, Clarendon House has the e-course How to Write Stories That Work - and Get Them Published, which walks the writer through each part of How Stories Really Work, with key points where I help directly, by assessing progress and answering questions. Writers also get instructions on how to publish and market their own work, as part of the course.
Put all this together and you can see a pathway, beginning with assembling the necessary factors to write in the first place, then learning some basics, and then finding out the secrets of master authors and getting help to become one.
Further help is also available, be it through professional beta reading, where I give writers detailed feedback on their stories in the light of all of the above, or developmental editing, through which I can help writers implement each part of what makes fiction work.
After that, writers can find out more about the Clarendon House Master Author Programme which takes everything to a whole new level.
The Learning Path is the first route laid out by Clarendon House for new or established authors. The second route is called the Publication Path - and you’ll find out more about that tomorrow.