fig I. the contents of my bonce.
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‘The outline for Malcolm Pryce’s #storytelling course is better than
other entire courses!’—comment on Twitter
Meet the Homunculus of Doubt
There are probably more unfinished novels in the world than stars in the Milky Way. So before we get started we need to spend some time in mental boot camp.
The course starts by asking a question that surprisingly few writers ask, namely, What is reading? Once you understand the specific nature of the pleasure readers seek, all else follows. Clue: it’s a trance-like state sometimes called the Fictive Dream
We can think of the fictive dream as a temporary theatre in the mind. In which case, words are the wood and paint with which we construct the scenery. In order to do it properly, you need plenty of Thisness.
It’s about a guy/gal who…
Thus begins the classic Hollywood elevator pitch. All stories are about someone who tries to do something and finds that the author won’t let him.
I Was So Enthralled I Forgot To Chop Off Her Head.
The Sultan adopts the strange new policy of sleeping only with virgins then beheading them in the morning. If this ever happens to you, this lesson on storytelling – courtesy Scheherazade – could save your life.
And then everything went pear-shaped
Life doesn’t have to make sense, but fiction does. So we fashion it into a plot. There are three key components. Causality, conflict and things going pear-shaped.
‘Pass me that tray of noses, Igor!’
How to invent people and make them tick.
We end at your first page, far and away the most important part of your manuscript. If you get it wrong, none of the rest will get read.
Mystery Culminatory Lesson
The Secret of Writing condensed into One Word
A uniquely surreal spin on the hoary conventions of noir writing…impossibly weird and, in parts, beautifully lyrical—GUARDIAN