If you’re new to fiction writing, don’t make the same mistake I did and read this book AFTER you’ve already written your novel. For my next novel, I plan to listen through sections 2 & 3 of this book as I write each scene until I have the principles down.

I highly recommend chapter 1 of this book to everyone–regardless of whether you have any interest in writing. The chapter brilliantly describes the crucial role fiction plays in our lives by teaching “emotional muscle memory” to enable us to face hard moments in life.

The book has 4 sections.

Section 1 defines the fundamentals of what makes a story in very simple terms. A story is a character in a crucible. And every scene must be a story, with a character in a crucible.

Section 2 walks through the nuts and bolts of a proactive scene.

Section 3 walks through the nuts and bolts of a reactive scene.

Section 4 describes how to identify and fix broken scenes.

The book is very well-written and engaging with plenty of examples from three stories–Hunger Games, Outlander, and The Godfather.