I’ve spent the month of August incognito working on my next book, The Art & Craft of Story: 2nd Practitioner’s Manual, an in-depth study of the Developmental Issues of plot structure and character development, with a long, luxurious discussion of storytelling. It’s scheduled to be released September 30, just in time for all you NaNoWriMo folks out there. And I’m posting sneak previews to seven chapters here today so you can read up on: Storytelling, Character Is Content, Plot Is Context, and Revision.
The Art & Craft of Story:
I wish I’d had The Art & Craft of Story when I began work on my first novel. Victoria Mixon brings to bear her analytical skills in a jazzy-riffed voice to give you story, in its classical components. She breaks it down logically, then rebuilds with elegance and playfulness. Not that the work is easy. The last section, Revision, will keep you humming for weeks to come. Read Story before you begin your novel, then go back and mark the book up as you write that novel. Draw, box, diagram, play, think. You begin to grasp the long term commitment to the process, to the work itself, to the art and the craft of story.
—Lucia Orth, author of the critically-acclaimed Baby Jesus Pawn Shop
How can an author keep you reading well past your bedtime? How can they make a story so vivid it’s as if it truly happened to you? And how do you learn to write them?
You buy this book.
Victoria Mixon makes you notice what makes stories compelling. She develops your eye for authorly sleight-of-hand and what, exactly, clever storytellers do. Like her previous book, The Art & Craft of Fiction, it’s packed with examples from film and prose literature across a wide spread of genres. Chandler rubs cheeks with Kafka. There are practical examples. She walks you through a ghost story she’s writing and builds it before your eyes, destruction-tests its logic (yes, a ghost story needs logic). She takes a novel with a cast of too many and fillets them down to a few irresistible folk you’ll be more attached to than your dearest friend. But you don’t learn to write devastating, original stories just from reading. The raw material is your own life if you know how to look—and Mixon tells you how.
Plus you have Victoria herself. Opinionated, rumbunctious, sharp and always entertaining, she is a brilliant and ferocious companion, a champion to keep you going as you wring your guts onto the page and wield the scalpel for nip and tuck. Because writing good stories is a long, hard game; there are no quick fixes. And these are not short-term how-to lessons. They are lessons of a writing lifetime.
—Roz Morris, best selling ghostwriter and author of Nail Your Novel: Why Writers Abandon Novels and How You Can Draft, Fix and Finish With Confidence
Mixon is more than generous—and thorough—in sharing her knowledge of how to craft a great story. Her advice on language, craft and technique is some of the best available to the writer dedicated to understanding and improving their fiction. Certainly a staple for the serious writer’s bookshelf.
—Wendy Burt-Thomas, author of The Writer’s Digest Guide to Query Letters and The Everything Creative Writing Book