Story Structure Architect by Victoria Lynn Schmidt was something I picked up at my local library and was quite useful in explaining all the basic story structures that underpin the majority of stories out there. I've seen plenty more around, so I'd advise you to head out to your library and browse the books available. If your library uses the Dewey Decimal System, then 808.3 (808 thereabouts) is the section for writing books dealing with structure and story archetypes. Hope that helps!
Lucy-MerrimanFeatured By OwnerDec 28, 2012Student General Artist
Mmkay, so how to write a story, like a short story, is different from a film script, and both of those are different from a novel.
If you want to write a novel, the single best, most helpful book I've ever read on the subject was How Not To Write A Novel by Howard Mittlemark and Sandra Newman. It has a lot of insight on plot structure in a longer work, and talks about things like characters and hooks. The best thing about it? It's funny, clever, and well-written, all of which make me feel confident that the writers know what they're talking about.
It doesn't, however, have a big list of character archetypes. You know what does, and is absolutely free? Tvtropes.org. Tvtropes.org is the best internet resource ever when it comes to dissecting stories (whether from books, movies, or tv) and figuring out why they work. Here's an index page on character archetypes: [link] They also have pages for practically any other device possibly used in stories, as well as pages dedicated to favorite shows, books, comics, and games.
However, if you really want to buy a book, I'd recommend the book Characters and Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card. It's part of the series called "Write Great Fiction," which includes titles like Plot and Structure by James Bell, Dialogue by Gloria Kempton, and Description and Setting by Ron Rozelle. However, I personally have only read Characters and Viewpoint, and it was helpful to me; that's the only one of the series I can recommend based on personal experience.
Lastly, if you really want to learn to write better, maybe see if any of your favorite authors have published a book or a series of articles on writing?
If you look for any of the Writers' Digest books, I'm sure there will be something that can help! They have hundreds of books for every stage of the writing process from planning a novel up to publishing it. The next time you go to a book store, check the writing and publishing section and see what there is
That's a hard order to fill. But, these books might get you on the right track: Writing for Dummies and Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft. But, honestly, the only things you need to know about writing are basic details about plot, setting, and character. Good writers don't decide to insert archetypes, morals, and themes into their story. First, the writer is inspired by their vision for a story, who their characters will be, and what the major plot happenings are, and then they write and all those tropes of writing appear naturally just on the basis of the human condition. Additionally, the linear plot is kind of a dying breed in a postmodern writing industry, so it's better to follow your intuition and let the story structure forge itself. Let your imagination lead the way. Once you have a draft, then you can think about more of these things.
I think you're at a unique advantage as a writer since you're not burdened with writing rules to slow down or stunt your writing. So, I would consider just writing before learning, and then coming back to education yourself after you've discovered your own unique, raw style. If you're wondering why my opinion might count. It doesn't . I got my BA in English and Writing with an Education Concentration, studied minority fiction from the United States and postmodernism. Now I teach students in 3rd through 6th grade at a public school.
Anyway, I hope one of those two books might help. This one is a favorite of mine, although it bypasses many of the basics you're looking for. But, I've read it cover to cover and still refer to it for insight: Extreme Fiction
Thanks! The books look interesting, but it's made me think that maybe I need a book more targeted towards screenwriting rather than writing a novel, if I ever get stuck with my writing I'll be sure to come to you