This blog will touch on the experiences I have as a writer (not to be mistaken for my experience as a writer, i.e. how many books I've written, etc); the pleasure and the pain, the joy and the grief, the satisfaction and the frustration, the magic and the reality - have I left anything out, oh yeah, the rejection, rejection and more rejection, the humiliation and the embarrassment, the jealousy and the resentment - that pretty much covers it, except for why I do it which perhaps I'll realize along the way. Are you totally confused? Good, let's begin.
Every writer who has progressed beyond fantasizing about writing a novel and actually got serious immediately learns the building blocks of what makes a good story – Goal, Motivation and Conflict.
In Story Physics, Harnessing the Underlying Forces of Storytelling, Larry Brooks has taken these fundamentals and, using pseudo scientific jargon, would have you believe that if you put various literary elements together in a specific way this formula will bring forth a best selling story, just as the right combination of hydrogen and oxygen will create water.
Story Physics is a masterpiece of overstatement, overwriting and repetition. The simplest concepts are dissected, analyzed - the straight becoming crooked, the simple becoming impossibly complicated, with the result being they end up exactly as they were and always have been.
Here’s Brook’s six forces of story physics:
1. A compelling narrative premise – sounds like the good old Goal and Motivation to me
2. Dramatic tension – can you say “Conflict”
3. Expositional pacing – remember the story arc - lesson two at the night school course, How to Write a Novel.
4. Hero Empathy – we’re back to Goal and Motivation
5. Vicarious reading experience – a hyped up way of saying “show don’t tell”.
6. Narrative Strategy – I mean, really why don’t you just call it what it is, Point of View
Throughout the book, Brooks encourages writers to come up with great plots, great characters and execute (sic) them with powerful writing. If you don’t think this is ridiculous advice then consider the opposite.
Why Brooks takes universal storytelling concepts then tortuously convolutes and misrepresents them until they are beyond baffling is a mystery to me. Perhaps he hopes the confused reader will end up at his website Storyfix.com, where you can get a “Professional Full-Plan Story Coaching Adventure” for just $195.
Story Physics, likely the companion book to his story coaching business, reads like the transcript of a Writer’s Digest webinar. Oh, imagine that, it’s published by Writer’s Digest Books.