Criteria-Driven Strategies for More Effective Fiction
Story is the exploration of something that has gone wrong and a lot has to go right during the telling of that story to render it a success. Yet one of the most common questions new writers ask professional writers is about how the author wrote their book, what was their process for storytelling (and from this we get plotters and pantsers)? But really the question should be about the general principles and nature of story--does every part of a story have what it needs to keep readers turning the pages (regardless of how the author got there)? Does every scene, every part of the story support the strategic narrative objective of providing new information a scene will inject in the story (the key principle of writing fiction)?
In Great Stories Don't Write Themselves, Larry Brooks has developed a series of detailed checklists backed by tutorial content for novelists of every level and genre to refer to as they write regardless of which writing method they prefer. Beginning with the broadest part of story, the early checklists help writers to ensure that their book is based on a premise (aka plot) rather than an idea, or how you can elevate your idea into an actual premise where other story elements can be developed. Great Stories Don't Write Themselves gradually hones in on other story elements like hero empathy, dramatic tension, thematic richness, vicariousness of story, narrative strategy, scene construction, etc. each with their own checklists with specific, actionable items that ensure that key principle (providing information to move the story forward) occurs.