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Story Engineering: Mastering the 6 Core Competencies of Successful Writing
By Larry Brooks

When I started this book, my expectations were low. I have read a number of “how to write” books and they start to take on a sameness, with the amount of quality, new information either buried or non-existent. I am very glad I worked past my prejudices and made the effort to give this book a chance. It did not disappoint. 

As the title suggests, the book is based on six core competencies the author shows are a requirement in every successful story. Whether you are a writer who works from an outline or a writer who is more organic and lets the story come to you, he is convincing in his logic. I especially enjoyed the use of movies and screenplays, along with best selling fiction, as examples, making it clear that a story that “works” is not under the sole jurisdiction of the published novel. The detail for each competency is clear and easy to follow and the author’s enthusiasm for my unpublished manuscript—even though he hasn’t ever read it—was infectious. His cheerleading for the reader stopped just short of corny, but it made me want to write.

One thing he stressed time again was this was not a set of rules to squelch your creativity and beautiful words. The core competencies are used because they work. Skip one of the six and your story may still be readable, but it will not be publishable. He makes his case and I was convinced. This paragraph from the author helps sum up his concept:

That’s all this book really is. It’s a set of principles that help you get bad ideas, unprofessional habits, incomplete notions, and outdated techniques out of the way, allowing the best story you have in you to surface, while creating a benchmark for the best sentences you can bring to it.

BookSneeze® has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for review.

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