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Friday, March 18, 2016

Story Trumps Structure

By Kelly Bridgewater

During 2015, I took the time to come up with twelve different writers who have inspired and influenced my writing. But for 2016, I have decided to come up with ten suggestions of writing books that I have used to improve my writing. Some of them won’t be long posts, but I will show how they inspired me to write better.

Let’s get started.

One of my favorite books was written by my favorite author. Steven James. He is a master at capturing my attention in his Patrick Bowers series. He also captured my attention at a Writer’s Conference in February 2014 where he was the keynote speaker. James’ is a regular contributor to Writer’s Digest, and I LOVE reading his writing suggestions in there, so when I found out, from him, that he was written a writing book, I purchased it right away.

The book is titled Story Trumps Structure.

From Amazon
James’ is a huge supporter of writing without an outline or a plan. Too many writers create a story with an outline, and they don’t allow the story to take them where it needs to go. They are controlled by the outline that they made before they started writing. Even J. K. Rowling has admitted to this recently. She outlined that Hermione and Ron should be married, but she felt a tugging to have Harry and Hermione get together, but she stayed with her outline, so she didn’t do what she should have. She has regretted that decision lately.

He has an entire section devoted to writing organically. James’ shares his secrets to creating a story and allowing the plot and characters to dictate where the story needs to go. I have underlined a lot in this section.

Most of the book features on how to create tension and how to make it harder for your characters. As I write, I need to make the reader believe that something worst is going to happen and there is nothing else that could go wrong. Wrong! Something worse needs to happen. Something to push the characters further from accomplishing their goal. I need a lot of help doing this. As a suspense writer, I come up with ideas, but I don’t think I push and push until my characters break. But James gives a lot of tips showing how to do this.

My copy of Story Trumps Structure has a lot of underline and post-it notes sticking out of it. I need to keep reviewing sections to include in my writing. It isn’t a book for the faint of heart. It has a lot of practical advice for writers in any genre.

I highly recommend every writer buy this book.


If you have read Story Trumps Structure or any of Steven James’ books, what is your favorite part of his writing? Share your favorite quote from the book and let’s start a discussion. 

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