Story Like a Journalist: A Workbook for Novelists by Amber Royer
by Blake Kimzey
A month ago
If you are joining us for Amber Royer's Sci Fi AMA on May 14th, one thing to ask Amber about is her new workbook/textbook for novelists.
Amber takes a deep dive into how to apply the 5 Ws and H to fiction. The worksheets help you understand your characters (your WHO), build a visceral, powerful premise (your WHAT), establish a setting that feels developed enough to be a real place (your WHEN and WHERE) and to develop a plot that has depth and thematic meaning (your HOW and WHY.) This is paired with instruction on writing craft, and ways thinking of your fictional world in journalistic terms can help you write more clearly and with more impact.
This book collects all the topics together, but you can also get the five single focus workbooks that make up this collection.
Story Like a Journalist: A Workbook for Novelists will be the base text for Amber's 6-Month Novel Prep and Drafting Mentorship, which starts June 22. Amber will help you develop your idea, get organized, and write your draft. Pre-order link for the print on Amazon HERE. And for the e-book on B&N HERE.
Regarding the idea for the workbook, Amber says, "I've been teaching creative writing for over a decade, and I've been learning about creative writing for close to thirty years. I developed around sixty worksheets that I have used with different classes over the years. And I have so many notes from lectures, and slides from PowerPoints I've built for the writing discussion group I lead. I finally decided it was time to organize the material I've been using for my Novel Writing Classes into a book that students could apply systematically, so they could take the information with them outside of class. Everything going on right now with COVID, where some of my most loyal return students haven't been able to make the transition to the virtual classroom, has made me feel like right now is the time to start looking at new ways to share writing craft information."
One of the coolest things here is her take on WHAT as it relates to premise. She breaks down a book's subject, concept, situation and plot question before having you even think about summarizing it. It may feel almost like overkill while you are doing it, but afterwards, when you go to write the premise, you have so much of a deeper understanding of what your book is about.
Amber writes the Chocoverse comic space opera series.
She says, "I studied Library and Information Science, but think I learned more about the practicality of organizing information from writing space opera. I was creating entire planets and alien species, and I needed to build a document that would allow me to find needed information quickly -- even two books later. I have lists of the named spaceships in all my books and short stories. I can tell you seven things they eat for breakfast on the planet Evevron. I did so much worldbuilding that never made it into the books -- but that's what made the world feel like it bleeds off the page, past the confines of the story. And is giving me fodder for telling short stories in the 'verse. So yes, worldbuilding is a huge part of building a novel plan (also known as a Story Bible). But it is also about building characters that feel real enough to breathe, and a plot that doesn't meander. When I first started writing, I was a complete discovery writer. It took me several novels to realize that putting the time in at the beginning to have a plan -- and some projects require more of a plan than others -- made it sooooo much simpler to complete a novel. And so much faster. Now, I'm a supper mega planner. You may not need all the tools I'm prepared to give you, but it is nice to have them in an organized space, for you to choose the ones you need."
You can follow amber on Instagram under @amberroyerauthor , checkout her writing discussion group on Facebook (Saturday Night Write FB Group) or visit her web site www.amberroyer.com.