Story Structure Architect– Victoria Lynn Schmidt, Ph.D.

This book is not beginner friendly. That doesn’t mean that a beginner wouldn’t gain from reading it, but for anyone starting out Story Structure Architect would not be as helpful as most other books. A number of books offer greater benefits for beginners who want assistance with writing in general rather than and overview of specific themes. For those looking for the most basic information on how to write a novel, this level of detail is overkill.

A bit more is offered for intermediate writers, but the greatest gain would belong to advanced writers and scholars who are seeking a deeper understanding of the way that stories are constructed. Each chapter of the book deals with a different type of plot, explaining how the different elements go together to create the finished story.

While this may sound to a beginner like a great set of instructions, the reality is something that is intended more for serious scholars than writers of general or genre fiction. Once you get past the first chapter, the book becomes repetitive since so many plots are very similar to each other and because each chapter is structured the same each is almost identical with a few exceptions. The feeling is very much one of looking through an atlas at a series of disconnected maps. The maps of foreign places are interesting, but not of great value unless you have been there. For most beginners who have never been there, the maps will not tell you how to get to the country, only what to do once you are there.

For serious students of the art who are looking to enhance their knowledge, this book will show the connections that all stories have one to the other. It probably would not be my first pick for my advanced bookshelf, but in the long run I’m glad that I own it, so I think it is worth recommending, even if only as a very advanced book.

Rated as advanced:
Two stars for ease of reading.
Three stars for usefulness of information.

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