The Writer’s Bookshelf: Recommended References and Writing Resources (Episode 17: Discussing “Great Stories Don’t Write Themselves” by Larry Brooks)

Title Image for The Writers Bookshelf Episode 17

So, remember last week when I said Author in Progress would end The Writer’s Bookshelf Season One? Well, I meant it.

But it doesn’t mean I wouldn’t throw a few bonus episodes at you after the season finale!

From now until March, I’ll be posting one bonus episode per month about books that don’t fit neatly into a seasonal paradigm. Well, except for this month, which would’ve been perfect for the main season. But as I’m about to show you, there’s a good reason that I didn’t include it on the main list but kept it close enough to the main list that it may as well be the true season finale.

For this month, I wanted to highlight a book that I wasn’t expecting to review. The reason is quite simple. When I started this series and ended it with last week’s book, I didn’t have a copy of the book I’m reviewing today. In fact, the only reason I have a copy of the book now is because the author gifted it to me as a thank you for reviewing his other three books on writing earlier in the season.

And this was after I’d assumed no one would watch these videos or read these articles as they went live.

How wrong I was.

That said, I think the book is worth a review. So, as we take one more dip into the Writers Bookshelf to end 2020 once and for all (such a relief) and usher in 2021 (hopefully a relief), we’ll check out Larry Brooks’s best book yet, Great Stories Don’t Write Themselves: Criteria-Driven Strategies for More Effective Fiction.

Be sure to watch the video (link below) because that’s where the meat lies.

But if you want the quick and snappy version, my basic take on this book is that if Story Engineering, Story Physics, and Story Fix are the beginner courses, then Great Stories Don’t Write Themselves is the advanced course. It covers many of the same ideas that Brooks’s previous books and pretty much every other structure-based writing book covers, but it goes beyond the usual, and even reframes the usual in a format that sticks better in the reader’s mind while also making a quick reference to these ideas much easier.

In short, it’s a must-read if you care about writing.

Like most of the books I cover in this series.

Which is why I cover them.

But this one presents the advanced instruction in a tangible and easy-to-access form. As I advise in the video (which you should watch now), the most effective strategy is to read the first two Story Engineering books, then read this one, then go back and read Story Fix. I think that’s a great strategy for getting and remembering the tools without becoming saturated with instruction.

But I’ll probably post a more extensive ordered list with all the featured books so far just before Season 2 goes live.

Great Stories Don’t Write Themselves: Criteria-Driven Strategies for More Effective Fiction

by Larry Brooks


Amazon Metadata:

·  Paperback: 256 pages

·  ISBN-10: 1440300852

·  ISBN-13: 978-1440300851

·  Publisher: Writer’s Digest Books; Illustrated edition (November 5, 2019)

Check out other entries in the Writer’s Bookshelf series here.

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