Writing Great Stories
Meet the Golden Quill of Story Telling
By CB Hampton
Writers who are serious about their craft, whether they be published or not, are bound to have a myriad of how-to books hovering in and around, book cases, desks, floors, computer towers, bathrooms, bedroom night stands and cocktail tables. Names of fiction and craft writers such as Stephen King, Donald Maas, Michaeld Seidman, Debra Dixon, Pam McClanahan, Robert McKee, Ernest Hemingway, Christopher Voglen, Andre Jute, Dorothea Brande, Dwight Swain, Leslie Wainger grace the writer's well-stocked library. (And let's not forget the references: Stunk and White, Chicago Manuel of Style, Rogets' humungous Thesaurus and dictionaries of all sizes and shapes.)
CB Hampton wrote yet another craft book. That sounds like a ho-hum, critical gesture, but it’s not. His book is unique.
How so? Why is this book so different? It explains the same elements. Uses examples from well-known authors, as well as his own stories. Has extensive research to back up his ideas and shows from where the research came. But the book not only covers everything a self-respecting author might need, it's expansive. And, it's fun to read. Texts can be fun? This one is. Kind of like a thriller that you don't want to put down.
Here is what you'll get:
Chapter One: The Quest for the Story. What ideas may work. What may not work. And why.
Chapter Two: Testing Your Story: Tests Chapter One's theory by using examples of four highly successful authors: Hemingway, Brown, Cook and Ludlum.
Chapter Three: Narrative Unity: How to chuck chapters and scenes that don't belong.
Chapter Four: Building a Sample Story: Tests Chapters One, Two and Three by writing a sample story. No kidding.
Chapter Five: Creating Suspense: "...develops a simple, practical 'writer's definition of suspense and outlines exactly how to create suspense in your stories no matter what the genre." It shows thirteen "highly specific" methods increasing intensity.
Chapter Six: Strong Motivation: What motivation means and how to create it to make sure "the hero and antagonist are strongly motivated enough not to quit in the middle of the story."
Chapter Seven: Structuring Your Story: Offers an in-depth explanation of story structure and a simple way to make sure the story is properly structured. Demonstration on how this works follows.
Chapter Eight: Another Look at Structure: Offers a variety of techniques to "map your story from beginning to end." The chapter includes some already created story maps from Joseph Campbell's "Hero's Journey."
Chapter Nine through Sixteen: Prepackaged Story Maps
Chapter Seventeen: Scenes and Transitions: Offers four types of scenes and how they are used.
PART TWO: In Search of Craft
Chapter Eighteen: Characterization: The difference between characters and characterization and how to use them onstage and off.
Chapter Nineteen: Dialogue: How to use dialogue "to portray characters express setting, provide exposition and backstory....'
Chapter Twenty: Point of View: Three main points of view are discussed as well as author intrusion (Huh? What is that?)and examples.
Chapter Twenty One: Description in Motion: How much description and when and how to use it without stopping the story.
Chapter Twenty Two: In Search of Style: How style is influenced by a writer's goals, personality and craft choices. Difference between voice and style.
Chapter Twenty Three: Brainstorming Alone: Use of writing a journal is explored
Chapter Twenty Four: Quick and Dirty Discover Draft: Creating a "discovery" draft and outline that is easy to change and manipulate.
Chapter Twenty Five: Practical Prose Craft: Understanding paragraphing and sentence construction.
Chapter Twenty Six: Practical Edit Craft: The importance of editing your own craft. How to do it and why it's needed.
PART THREE: BONUS CHAPTERS
Chapter Twenty Seven: In Search of a Hero
Chapter Twenty Eight: Generational Research
Chapter Twenty Nine: Basic Research for Writers
Chapter Thirty: The Future of Publishing
As a unique and more-than-complete craft book this book rates five stars.
Patricia A. Guthrie, author
In the Arms of the Enemy
Waterlilies Over My Grave