Learn from Books
To be a great writer, you need to use your head as well as your heart.
For the most cost-effective route to understanding story, I recommend you read The Story Book and The Primary Colours of Story.
If you are of an academic persuasion, lucky you... Story in Mind is is the book of my Ph.D. research.
Also note that because I do not know where you are, I do not provide links to purchase my books. All are available from your favourite store wherever you are in the world.
The course text for everything on this website, The Primary Colours of Story (2020) is the result of two decades of work as an author, screenwriter, producer, story consultant, Ph.D. researcher and public speaker. There is simply no more advanced understanding of how stories work available anywhere on the planet today.
"I found this book, to be excellent. Baboulene has managed to arrive at a complete understanding of the composition of Story, and then to break it down and explain it in such a way so that anyone else is able to understand it, too. I now look at the writing process in a whole new way, and it's already having a positive outcome. Thank you, Dr. Baboulene." (Amazon Review)
My global bestseller has even been translated into Chinese. It is a more entry-level, accessible view of story theory, best for those gaining their first understanding, but with the advanced material given through my breakthroughs in knowledge gaps and subtext.
"Thank you for writing this book. I can't tell you how good it feels to finally UNDERSTAND!!!!!!! I mean every exclaimation point." (JerseyT - USA)
If I am ever going to get tempted towards a formula, this book is it. It is a short work, musing on the most powerful and compelling of the knowledge gap types and showing how they can all be drawn together into one story.
It isn't so much of a formula as a toolbox for you to draw your own method out of yourself, which worked perfectly for this reviewer:
"The real gift is that David provides a definition of story which is both elegant and powerful. As someone who grapples with understanding and applying narrative concepts, it has been hugely illuminating. There are many books out there offering a formula for structuring a story - this is one of the only ones that goes deep enough to help you create your own formula." (Adam, UK)
Story in Mind (2019) is the book version of my 2017 Ph.D. thesis, presenting the psychological and linguistic foundations to how stories work. This is for you if you are looking for formally supported narratology, probably within an academic context.
The thesis proposes a shift in the foundations of narratology from their traditional structuralist basis to a constructivist premise, and it is this that provides a whole new approach to understanding story that is based upon how the mind works.
"Strong, clear, valid and well-argued. Congratulations, David."
Professor of Narratology
University of Chicago
You want to go on to Amazon and see reviews like those below for your books, right? I won't lie - it's a wonderful feeling. Let me help you get there.
I used my principles to make a film. From the first seeds of an idea I derived some basic knowledge gaps and made a story that confounds all the Hollywood formula 'imperatives'. It is a story without conflict, or dialogue, not even a bad guy. It just storifies beautifully.
This short book is my development process for you to read, with critically important knowledge on how you can use a Step Outline. Read the book and the step outline, and then you can watch the short film that results (Bella, 2020).
We will be doing this again in the coming year but with a full length novel and feature film.
Review: "I'm amazed at how quickly it helped me to write - yes I started to write - the first few steps and outline of a story - with the thought of the audience in mind. I'm amazed. So grateful. The book proved to be such an unexpectedly excellent tool. I'm a complete beginner and I had felt overwhelmed! Thank you." Neil James
Very proud of my first published work, the first in a two-book deal with a traditional publishing house. Humorous tales from my adventures travelling the world and working on ships. Makes a great gift!
"I laughed so hard, stuff came out of my nose." Pete McCarthy.
"The story on Barbados is one of the funniest things I have ever read." Mark Green. Talk Radio
Amazon Reviews: "This is far and away one of the funniest books I have ever read. The author is a comic genius."
And: "This is an entertaining book by a writer who has a good eye, a gift for narrative, and the comedic writing talent of P.G. Wodehouse."
Interestingly for writers - this second book in the series outsells the first, because the title and cover design are stronger. Ask me about this when we have a Q&A.
Review: "Jumping Ships", like its predecessor "Ocean Boulevard" is a side-splitting, laugh-out-loud, fall-over-on-the-floor, lose-your-dignity, lie-on-your-back-and-stamp-your-feet howler that will divest you of snobby literary pretensions and expose you as an artless child losing his mind in sheer merriment.
Baboulene should be prescribed instead of Prozac. He'd be far more effective, although possibly as habit forming." Andrew (USA)
The reality is that the 1% of writers who get published or produced don't have any better stories than the 99% who fail. That lucky few just make better moves. They do more than just write.
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One of those who looks back and wishes they'd done more. Set yourself apart on the basis of quality and professionalism and get the success you desire.