… to my spot on the web where I share knowledge of the art and engineering discipline of story creation.  You will also find news and information about my own work-in-progress epic fantasy fiction novel The General’s Legacy.  Please visit to the general’s Briefing Room – my blog.

For book readers

Thank you for your time and attention.  As I write I have you and your precious time forefront in my mind as I strive to make every reading moment worthwhile.  There are blog entries here about other stories I read or see on screen that may interest you and I also post updates about progress on whatever I am writing at the time.
If you are curious about the techniques that story creators use and the lengths I go to in making the best story I can the following may interest you too:

For other story creators and readers who want to know what makes a story dramatic

There are many facets that combine to make a story genuinely dramatic; the sort that have you eager to turn the next page or have you glued to the screen.  Once an idea for a story has been developed into a compelling dramatic concept, followed by a premise that uses it, the largest contributor to generating dramatic tension is a designed story structure.  Some writers may argue otherwise, or have other ways of creating drama.  The fact remains that the majority of screenplays and best selling novels all have a particular story structure in common.

Best selling novels such as Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s/Sorcerer’s Stone are not dramatic by accident.  The most well known movies like Star Wars: A New Hope are not dramatic by accident either.  They were designed this way with a structure that defines the relationship between the protagonistic and antagonistic forces at a given point in the story as these two forces conflict.

“All drama is conflict. Without conflict, there is no action. Without action, there is no character. Without character, there is no story. And without story, there is no screenplay.” Syd Field

Over time I will post blog entries that de-construct well known and less well known stories into their nine key points of story structure that include the four main phases of a story.  If you are interested in learning the details of the story structure I am talking about here, I recommend reading Story Engineering by Larry Brooks.  Quite possibly the only book on writing craft you will ever need, although it is always best to read wide and deep on a complex subject such as story creation.

Good luck and dive in…

Recent Posts

My Top 5 Gateway to Fantasy Books

Goodreads.com has a multitude of groups you can join for every imaginable genre and angle on books. This week the Top 5 Wednesday Group are looking for top 5 gateway books to your favorite genre. Here are my top 5 gateway books to fantasy. Keep in mind I read some of these in my teens, they were my gateway into fantasy, so some are on the “young adult” side.

Number 5: The Hobbit by J R R Tolkien

I first attempted to read The Hobbit when I was nine years old and found it heavy going. When I was about thirteen I tore through it in a matter of days. This was my introduction to fantasy worlds populated by something other than humans, with magic and dragons to boot.
One of only two fiction books I have ever read twice.

Number 4: Pawn of Prophecy (The Belgariad Book 1) by David Eddings

I re-read the beginning of this book recently and I was reminded that this is more a young adult book and a somewhat conventional farm boy marches off to fight the dark lord type story. When you are young and have not read the like before it works. My memory of characters like Belgarath the Sorcerer and his daughter Polgara is warm, but I dare not read the books again now lest these old memories be spoiled.

Number 3: Magic Kingdom For Sale Sold! by Terry Brooks

This is the other fiction book I have read twice.
A portal story. Ben Holiday, a lawyer and widower is seeking meaning to his life and purchases a Magic Kingdom from the gift catalog for the wealthy. Once he crosses through the portal into this Magic Kingdom he soon realizes he is not the first new King of Landover to try and rule. The others were dispatched by the Mark – lord of Abaddon. Can Ben’s alter-ego, the Paladin, save him? For Ben and the Paladin are one and the same when he wears the medallion.
This is a light hearted fantasy come fairy tale featuring humorous characters such as a court wizard whose level of competence with magic resulted in turning the courrt scribe into a dog – that can still talk and walk on two legs. And then Ben gets a girlfriend who is sometimes a tree. Her name is Willow. Can you guess what kind of tree she sometimes turns into?

Number 2: Legend by David Gemmell

Take one old man with a mean axe (or is that a mean man with an old axe?), stick him in a castle under siege by an enemy army so large the odds are impossible and you get an amazingly compelling story when David Gemmell tells it. Hard to believe such a simple dramatic concept produced a story that is so good the title sums up my impression of the book – legendary. I’m not quite sure what made me put this second place to my number one choice…

Number 1: Magician by Raymond E Feist

Raymond says he knew nothing about producing a novel when he wrote this monster. If he did know what the was doing, he would have produced something smaller. But sometimes a story will be as long as it needs to be and an epic tale begins here.
Pug is a kitchen boy who can’t even bring a basket of muscles home from the beach. One day he will be the most powerful magician in two worlds connected a rift and he will save them both from each other, themselves and many other external threats… but I get ahead of myself. Magician is about the beginning of a war between Midkemia – Pug’s home world – and Kelewan – a world modeled on Japanese culture that invades through the rift. The opening to Magician is also a beautiful read – go find Pug on the beach and join him.


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