He is currently proving through his Ph.D. thesis that subtext is the defining substance of story, and by measuring subtext presence, depth and extent, he can tell you in advance how successful a story is likely to be.
(Taken from the David's website)
My Story, My Way
The most obvious difference I see between the successful writers I have met and the aspiring writers is confidence. Confident writers are focused and productive. They say, “This is MY story. I’m writing it MY way, and I don’t care what anyone thinks.” They put their blinkers on, they get busy, do what they think is right, and deliver. The final product may sell a million, or the writer might end up having thirty copies printed for his own bookshelf, and go back to his day job. Either way, he did it right.
The wrong thing to do, which I see a lot in the writers I work with, is to go on endless courses or read a pile of books on ‘How to Write’. They inevitably provide you with a set of rules that seems to apply to famous stories. As soon as you buy into this, your story becomes driven by structure. It becomes a little unnatural and it loses its spark, and the writer himself is having his creative instinct damaged by someone else’s rules.
In my experience, when I get writers to sit down and think about what they are really looking for, it’s not ‘How to Write’ help. You learned how to write when you were at school. The questions they really want answering are: “How do I make the most of my story ideas? How do I tell my story to its absolute best? How do I guide my ability to tell stories without damaging my natural talent? It takes me months to find out what’s bugging me in my story. How do I understand and solve story problems quickly and effectively? What gives one story power and another one not? What are the story tools that are available to writers that make stories grip and intrigue?”
There is only one person who can tell your story the right way, and that is YOU! What you need is knowledge of the craft of story so you are empowered to tell your story your way. Then you will also have the confidence to send it off, take rejection knowing that what you’ve done is right.
Because there’s only one right way to write your story, and that’s your way. If you think about it, there simply can’t be any other way. So take responsibility. Learn about story so you can squeeze the most from your ideas. Write every day, and say to yourself every day:
“My Story. My Way. And balls to the lot of you.”
Say it now. Say it out loud and mean it. Not only will you laugh at yourself, but take responsibility for your own development and suddenly life as a writer, and your path forwards from today, becomes very clear indeed...
And if it’s not clear, contact me and I will send you a free chapter from The Story Book on the topic that is puzzling.
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Thanks so much, David, for those wise words (in particular, the "balls to the lot of you" part!).
I have just started working on a new novel and (unlike the first novel I wrote) I decided I want to put a lot of planning into this one before I start writing it (instead of just jumping in like I did the first time...). I've been reading David's The Story Book as I plan and it's helped a lot. I feel like I understand a lot more about how to tell a story, and I've had several ah ha! moments when I recognise something I've been doing all along and just never knew they had a name or how important they were!
David is currently doing a book blog tour and you can find the details here.
If you'd like to read what other people thought about this book, you can check out: