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Story Structure: The Key to Successful Fiction

The Red Sneaker Writers Book Series, Volume 1
Narrated by: William Bernhardt
Length: 2 hrs and 51 mins
5 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

“Writing is structure,” William Goldman said, but too often aspiring writers plunge into their work without grasping this fundamental principle. Story structure is one of the most important concepts for a writer to understand - and ironically, one of the least frequently taught. In this book, New York Times best-selling author William Bernhardt explains the elements that make stories work, using examples spanning from Gilgamesh to The Hunger Games. In each chapter, he introduces essential concepts in a direct and easily comprehended manner. Most importantly, Bernhardt demonstrates how you can apply these ideas to improve your own writing.

William Bernhardt is the author of more than 30 books, including the blockbuster Ben Kincaid series of legal thrillers. Bernhardt is also one of the most sought-after writing instructors in the nation. His programs have educated many authors now published by major houses. He is the only person to have received the Southern Writers Gold Medal Award, the Royden B. Davis Distinguished Author Award (U Penn), and the H. Louise Cobb Distinguished Author Award (OSU), which is given "in recognition of an outstanding body of work that has profoundly influenced the way in which we understand ourselves and American society at large."

The Red Sneaker Writing Center is dedicated to helping writers achieve their literary goals. What is a red sneaker writer? A committed writer seeking useful instruction and guidance rather than obfuscation and attitude. Red sneakers get the job done, and so do red sneaker writers, by paying close attention to their art and craft, committing to hard work, and never quitting. Are you a red sneaker writer? If so, this book is for you.

©2013 William Bernhardt Writing Programs (P)2014 Babylon Books

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Profile Image for Crystal W. Rast
  • Crystal W. Rast
  • 11-03-2015

Book is an Infomercial

What disappointed you about Story Structure: The Key to Successful Fiction?

I've read several books on story structure, most notably _Story_ by Mckee (which I've read several times). The synopsis of this book mentioned several books that I've enjoyed, so I purchased it. When the author began the book by excusing the brevity of the audiobook (which I hadn't realized was so short until that point), and then launched into a pitch for his seminars, I was fine. But, when every example of actual story structure came from one of his books (one of which he even stated that the reader might want to buy MULTIPLE copies in order to take notes), then I got fed up. This is not an instructional book so much as an infomercial meant to draw up sales for his books. Rather than using this as a platform from which to try to foist his books off on readers, he should have actually offered instructional content, taking examples from noteworthy works (as McKee does), and impressed the listener with his knowledge of the craft. That would have made me want to read his books. That would have made me want to consider attending one of his seminars. And that would have definitely made me more likely to purchase more audiobooks.

I have only left one other negative book review in my life, but I felt compelled to warn potential buyers not to waste their money or time.

Would you ever listen to anything by William Bernhardt again?

Never.

What three words best describe William Bernhardt’s voice?

relaxing, clear, precise

What character would you cut from Story Structure: The Key to Successful Fiction?

The salesman who happens to be the author.

Any additional comments?

Just hoping I can get a refund on this.

23 of 25 people found this review helpful

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  • Syd Young
  • 29-02-2016

Addicted to Series

I started at the beginning. This one was good - I learned several new tips and heard many others reiterated. Since listening to this offering, I've almost listened to them all and I find they are quite good. To be taken in bits and gentle reminders while you are plodding away at your craft.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • lil lester
  • 08-07-2018

Brief and good

I'm a professional writer. This series tells it like it is. I go to these when I need to be re-grounded in the craft. There are lots of good books on writing but get this series and BIRD BY BIRD by Anne Lammott if your serious about your craft.


1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Madalina
  • 01-12-2016

So helpful! answers questions I didn't know I had

Loved it. Easy to listen and to follow. The book has a strong inner consistency, the advice is logical and practical. It helped me figure out how to make my stories work in ways I hadn't considered before.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Lynne
  • 18-03-2016

Great Help

Excellent information for a beginning writer, especially regarding outlining. Invaluable. I will definitely be listening to more of his red sneaker writing series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Drew Sutton
  • 26-10-2015

Writing explained to an English failure

I love all the red sneaker series books. They inspire and instruct, with witty quips to boot... Can't go wrong.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • thomas
  • 08-08-2014

Good, but a drudge listening

The content is valuable information... But the author/narrator reads his own material in a dull monotone voice.

it makes me think of the phrase a man who represents himself, has a fool for a lawyer... but then again.. he's published.... I'm not.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 18-05-2019

Finally someone who puts it in simple ters

I'm so happy I bought this audiobook, along with the kindle.
Finally someone who explains how to structure my story step by step.
If you have no clue how to structure your novel, he walks you step by step, including book and movie examples.
Yes, he lists his books, too, but every book I've read on writing does it too. But, he also uses many examples like; star trek, pride and prejudice and others.

He walks you in writing Act one, with the inciting incident.
Act 2
Act 3
and resolution.

If you have no idea how to structure, plot your story I recommend his series. I was so impressed with this book, I bought all of them, including some he wrote.

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  • ChasGo
  • 18-03-2019

An encouraging clear look at the hard stuff

very helpful. candid.opinionated. fun and encouraging. I like the whole series.along with Syf Field and Christopher Vogler

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-03-2019

Excellent book on how to build story!

I will read more books like this from this author. So glad he has a series on writing for writers.