Ever since I discovered that writing can be learned, I have been thirsty for knowledge to improve my writing. I wish I had the time or the money to go back to school to get a bachelor on creative writing, or a master, but I don’t have either; so aside from one creative writing class at the university where I work, I have been reading many, many books on the topic of creative writing.
They are all very good books, with each of them with one or several nuggets of wisdom that are proving to be more than useful. Yet, although most of them talk about making sure your characters have an inner struggle, none of the ones I have read so far actually show you how to do it. I find this kind of ironic since probably the most common advice from writers all over is show, don’t tell.
Almost two months ago, Lisa Cron published her new book Story Genius, and I can say that not only this book is all about the inner struggle of your character, it also does show you how to do it.
I’m half way down the book, and I have to say that it has already changed how I write.
Lisa says in the book subtitle: Before You Waste Three Years Writing 327 Pages That Go Nowhere, and I couldn’t agree more. When I think of the novel I’ve been working on for an year and a half and the other story I’ve been working for this past half year, I think that my characters would have been more alive and real, and that my writing would have been so much more fluid and easier if I had had the Story Genius book. Too late to start from scratch with those, I’m going to be revising them with the advice Lisa gives in mind.
Also, as many others who have reviewed the book, I’m not writing another novel until I go through the process that Lisa suggests in her book.
My character has depth now. She seems more real. The scenes come more natural, and I’m just in the part where I’m preparing the first scene of the book for the next NaNo. Without having finished the process, my mind is already full of rich ideas of possible scenes that will make my character face her demons and see who wins.
If you were a first time writer, I would still suggest you read the usual books, such as the ones I’ve suggested in a previous post; but I wouldn’t even begin to start fully writing the novel until I had gone through the process descrived in Story Genius.