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What Writers Need to Know from Lisa Cron’s CreativeLive Course: Wired for Story

Earlier this year I took all of Lisa Cron’s courses on CreativeLive and they completely opened my eyes to a new way of writing fiction. I was constantly running into walls with my novels, getting stuck and then having to take a break and think it over and then do a total rewrite. After taking this course I was able to get on the right track with my novel and I am constantly referring back to the notes I took. Here are some of the main things I learned in Wired for Story.

Story is about how what happens affects the protagonist who is in pursuit of a difficult goal and how that character changes because of it.

  • Something happens = the plot

  • The difficult goal = plot or story problem

  • Story is not about the plot – it’s about how the plot affects the protagonist

When the story starts, the protagonist already has a longstanding goal they want very badly and a longstanding misbelief that prevents them from getting it.

  • Your protagonist doesn’t know they have a misbelief, they think it’s a concrete piece of intel that’s going to help them navigate the world 

  • Story is about change and all change is going to be hard

“Back story is the fundamental layer of every story. It is the source of all story logic.

It’s not about what your protagonist does, it’s about why. And that why lies in the past.” – Lisa Cron 

  • When you get stuck in your writing, you will still be going back to the backstory to fuel what happens 

  • Throughout your writing you will be creating back story through draft after draft

  • It’s important to ask yourself, who is your protagonist before the story starts?

You need to know what your protagonist wants and what it means if they get it and why they want it. Once you can answer this you know what your story is about

  • Your protagonist is not a camera – you are creating a specific lens in which your protagonist is going to evaluate the meaning of what happens in the story

How to check for potential plot problems

  • Can the problem build?

  • Is there a consequence if it’s not resolved?

  • Is there a clear cut deadline for that consequence?

  • Will the problem force your character to make the inner change that your story is really about?

  • Will it force your protagonist to struggle with their misbelief in every scene?

I super highly recommend taking this course. Later this year I’m hoping to pick up some of her books as well! I will be posting what I learned from her other courses in the coming future.

Here are the links to her courses on CreativeLive.

What are some other great writing courses to take?

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