I had so much to learn about writing the kind of novel that an editor would be interested in publishing. And the way I began that learning process was similar to the way I learned to do something that I had no previous incling how to do.
Years ago I had an old car that needed a new transmission. My brother-in-law, Jeff, and I spent a Saturday on the garage floor underneath that Rambler taking its old tranny out and installing one that we had salvaged from a nearby junk yard. I watched a lot because I had no idea how to do any of it.
But, as providence would have it, mere days after we had successfully installed that salvaged transmission, it stopped working and I needed to replace it again! And as providence would also have it, my brother-in-law was not available for a rerun. So, on a cold, Fall day the following weekend, I found myself underneath that Rambler with all the necessary tools spread around me on our gravel driveway. But this time there was no seasoned expert there doing the work for me. I was on my own.
Because I had paid close attention to everything Jeff had done when he did all the work, I was able to replicate his transmission-replacement-prowess and complete the project on my own. I would never have learned that I could change the transmission on a car if I had not been able to observe the process first-hand and up close. Jeff "taught" me how to do it.
In my last post, I said that I would "name names." Therefore, I will do that now. In my next post, I will spend some time explaining exactly what I learned from each of these experts as I "watched" them work their story-telling magic.
Randy Ingermanson, The Snowflake Method
Christopher Vogler, The Hero's Journey
K.M. Weiland, The Secrets of Story Structure
Ken Adams, The Story Spline
Dan Wells, The 4-Part Plot Planner
Although this list includes just some of the experts that have been my teachers over the last year, these are enough names for now. I hope that you can come back soon to learn what each of them has taught me!