Write a new tale. Polish your skills.
The first email should be in your inbox now.
And the first actual writing prompt will arrive tomorrow, around 11am, US east coast time.
So you might want to mark off ten minutes in your schedule tomorrow.
Get a notepad and pen ready, if you write by hand.
I'm excited to share this writing course with you.
I felt dissatisfied with the standard ways of teaching story-writing.
On the one hand, I felt like the MFA / creative writing approach, the fiction "workshop," missed out on some crucial steps.
Workshops generally leave the actual writing of a story to the student. People bring in stories and see if their colleagues and teacher like what they've done.
The class's job is to offer feedback on work the writer has already produced.
But this leaves unanswered the question of whether the writer actually knows how to design and tell a good story.
I certainly didn't!
On the other hand, I see a lot of prescriptive writing advice taken from screenwriting and mythology.
This is perhaps the exact opposite approach to the workshop. These techniques start from the premise that there is something called a STORY, and that to be good, a writer must obey its tenets.
But I frequently find these rules -- "at the end of act one, the protagonist must..." -- to miss out on a crucial component of what makes a written, prose story work, at least for modern readers.
They rarely seem to acknowledge that a novel, or a short story, is told through a storytelling voice, not through a camera. These teaching methods also seem to underplay the importance of shaping the story via the main character's thoughts and feelings: we primarily are meeting a person, not an archetype or metaphor.
To put it simply: I liked both the "workshop" and the "story structure" approach. But I felt like their limitations were a problem.
So I thought: what if I could take a famous story, a beloved short story, and extract its essential turning points, narrative set up, and character developments?
That way, we could talk through a process of story-making that was 100% based in our own tradition, the tradition of great writing. Then you could build up, little by little, your own unique take on those plot twists.
You would watch yourself creating a grilling, intriguing story.
Plus I could teach a series of writing techniques along the way.
That's the "seven step story."
I think you're going to like it a lot.
Everyone is unique, and people learn differently.
So I've tried to design this course to be varied enough for every learning style.
The Seven Step Story is taught via short craft essays, tiny videos, an interactive chatbot, and several downloadable handouts.
(And yes, it's 100% free.)
However, on the other hand, while the designing the course was complex for me, taking it will be really, really easy for you. The actual process of following the course is simple: a new step arrives in your inbox, every other day, via your email.
That's the foundation of everything: a new step, every other day, delivered to your inbox.
So -- if the course sounds interesting,
Make sure that you have marked my emails as ones you actually want to read.
You have to tell your email that you want to read my messages or it might try to hide one or two from you.
How to do this "marking" is different on every email system.
If you use Outlook on your iPhone, for instance, may mean moving my last email to your "focused" inbox.
For gmail, it means moving the email you just received to "priority."
If you're not sure how to do this, email me and I'll let you know what to do for your particular email system.
You're going to write a fantastic story.
Daniel David Wallace
"With Daniel's scene instruction workshop, I was able to write more quickly and competently. He created a path for writing my chapters.
Using his scene maps, I understood the scene I was crafting and how it functioned within the framework of my novel. I could focus on both the narrative and character arcs simultaneously."
JOHN VURRO // Short story writer
Copyright 2019, Daniel David Wallace