Thoughts on STORY GENIUS (Part 2)

This post is later than I expected because I stalled out in reading this book. I got about 80% through it and I doubt I’ll finish it. However, it did change my perspective on writing.

The story is how the character changes; it’s his/her transformation. The plot is the series of events that cause the character to change.

I’d never thought about it like that, and it definitely changes how I look at my own writing. It reminds me of Michael Hauge’s idea of a character moving from his/her identity to his/her essence.

Cron stresses the importance of developing a character’s backstory, even suggesting writing entire scenes for the parts of their past that shaped their identities. Cron claims this is the only way to truly understand a character.

And that’s where she lost me.

I LOVE backstory, so much so that most of my prewriting and brainstorming centers around my main character’s backstory. And I get what Cron is saying—by putting the scene on paper, it becomes concrete and more “real.” However, as an author who wants to put out three to four books a year, I don’t have time to write extraneous scenes that I know won’t make it into the actual book. I end up with enough material on the cutting room floor as it is, thank you very much.


So while this method may work for some people, I don’t think I will be adopting it. I know myself well enough to know I don’t have the patience for it. However, I will spend more time thinking about my character’s growth arc as I plot/write.

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