Story Engineering

Recently, a writer friend recommended the book, Story Engineering: Mastering the Six Core Competencies of Successful Writing by Larry Brooks. She said it was THE book for aspiring fiction writers to read and own. Around the same time this recommendation was made to me, I saw that this same book was available to read and review. So, I jumped at the chance!

Story Engineering is, basically, Larry Brooks’ compilation of all that he’s learned in hours and hours spent in writing conferences. How do you write fiction that is marketable? How do you write a novel that WILL be published? Is it just luck? Is it a process of random selection? Or do published writers know a little something about storycrafting that us wannabes haven’t figured out?

Brooks asserts that they indeed DO know something and that knowing just six core competencies will give any writer the edge that they need to write a book. They aren’t magic, he tells us, but when a writer applies professionalism and thoroughness in developing these six areas of writing, he/she will have a book worth reading.

The six core competencies are concept (the idea that evolves into a story), character (every story needs at least one, obviously), theme (what the story is telling readers about real life), structure (how it all fits together), scene execution (how the story moves from one scene to the next), and writing voice (how you tell the story). Concentrating on fully developing these six areas is a good start to novel writing.

This book is a great handbook on “how to get it done.” Of course, having a handbook is one thing — actually doing the work is another. I think Brooks realizes this, as his book is very motivational and encouraging, especially to those of us who are still just getting started. I don’t know if following his advice will make you as prolific as Stephen King or Nora Roberts (two writers he continually mentions), but it will definitely make your novel richer and fuller.

Many thanks to Thomas Nelson Publishing for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book to review. All opinions expressed are mine entirely.

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