At the Heart of Story Is Craft

by Dale Griffiths Stamos

To be a writer, like any other kind of artist, is to be addicted to your art.  It is also to be a soul excavator,  to be a little crazy, to stare the odds in the face and persist anyway, but more than anything, it’s to put in the work.  The hard, steady, often inspired, but also intensely thought-out process of crafting a piece of fiction (or non fiction) from beginning to end.

I use the word “craft” purposefully.  Good writing, to be most effective, does not just come from interesting characters, strong dialogue, or vivid descriptions, no matter how well expressed.  Those elements, as important as they are, must be placed within a dramatic story structure driven by powerful internal and external forces of desire and opposition that drive the story to an inevitable conclusion.  Making all of this come together in just the right way is not easy, but it is your job as a writer to make it look easy.  Or rather, to so absorb your reader (or your audience) in the story, that all the structure and technique you used to tell your tale will fall away like so much invisible scaffolding.  But make no mistake, without that scaffolding, you have no story.

In our class on Story Structure, we cut to the heart of story, your story.  We help you find the elements of story that already exist in your work, discover those that don’t, and strengthen and clarify these elements to make your work a compelling read.

Keep in mind that craft is not a dry intellectual process.  It is an evolving transliteration of ideas, emotions, and deep-felt truths into powerful dramatic form.  It is the use of story technique, which has been around since the beginning of time, to touch the universal in all of us.