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Lisa Cron's "Story Genius"

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Has anyone used Lisa Cron's "Story Genius" to write a middle grade novel?  I've read middle grade novels are more plot driven than character driven but I want to provide some level of depth for the protagonist.

Any advice, tips or watchouts would be appreciated.

Thanks.
#1 - October 10, 2019, 11:35 AM

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My opinion of STORY GENIUS is generally good, especially the section about your character's misbelief. I think the weakness is that it purports to get into "brain science" when it really doesn't. That part is basically boiled down to "our brains are wired to respond to certain structural elements and that's why structure is important."

MG novels can be character-driven; e.g., many contemporary stories lean literary and don't have a lot of action but may still have a lot going on emotionally. Even if your book is primarily plot-driven, it still needs a defined character arc for MG. STORY GENIUS is useful and worth reading, although I favor both SAVE THE CAT WRITES A NOVEL and THE ANATOMY OF STORY over it.
#2 - October 10, 2019, 03:06 PM
Adventures of Jenna V. Series
Caroline Grade Mysteries
The Journey of Emilie
Anne Bradstreet: America's Puritan Poet
www.marciahoehne.com

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Thanks for the information.  I will check out those books.
#3 - October 11, 2019, 09:14 AM

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Charles, I really like Story Genius for getting to know your character. I actually reviewed the book: https://vijayabodach.blogspot.com/2016/10/story-genius-by-lisa-cron.html  so I won't repeat my thoughts here.

But this also made me think of the origin story (like that of the Marvel characters) because I was just at the Carolinas conference and Alan Gratz spoke about this in the closing keynote (tidbits here, scroll to the end: https://vijayabodach.blogspot.com/2019/10/carolinas-scbwi-recap.html

Plot and character are very closely linked. If just a bunch of stuff happens, it's not really meaningful. It somehow needs to get the main character to grow and change.

I have an embarrassingly large library of writing books and one of the first ones that I still use is Character and Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card. I also like Save the Cat books, but the best overall book for crafting fiction has been Writing the Breakout Novel by Don Maass. (I have the workbook) and his Emotional Craft of Fiction makes you dig even deeper. Happy reading and writing.
#4 - October 11, 2019, 12:37 PM
Max & Dagny, Why in the World, Tongue-Tied, Bound, Ten Easter Eggs & 100+ bks/mags
https://vijayabodach.blogspot.com https://bodachbooks.blogspot.com

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