It was my turn to choose for my book club this month, and I picked Story Engineering by Larry Brooks. You can find him over at his fantastic Blog for writers: Storyfix (and also find links there to purchase any of his books). I was a constant fixture on this site during NaNoWriMo month, eating up all of his wonderful writing tips. Many of his posts are reflected in Story Engineering, but that’s not to say they replace the book, which is jam-packed with helpful advice.
The backbone of his book is the 6 Core Competencies of Successful Writing. He refers to these as non-formulaic, and rather the “physics” of storytelling. Writers can have all the freedom of creativity they want within the boundaries of following these “rules of the game”. The first 4 competencies are what he refers to as the “elemental” buckets/skill sets/realms. These are: Concept (idea/premise/genre/heart of story); Character (hero & antagonistic force); Theme; and Structure (story architecture, which is much the same in screenwriting). The last 2 competencies/”buckets” are: Scene Execution and Voice.
I would HIGHLY recommend his book to all novel writers.
You can check out A. Victoria Mixon’s Interview with Larry Brooks
Also, check out his Video Interview (found on his Blog & YouTube) below. It is well worth the 30 minutes.