In this video, DD Johnston discusses why novels are structurally similar to fern leaves, analysing JM Coetzee’s Disgrace as an example.
Some years ago, former-US President George W. Bush named The Very Hungry Caterpillar as his favourite childhood book. Unfortunately, it wasn’t published until he was 23 and fresh out of Yale. Still, while it’s not advanced post-graduate reading, it does have a perfect structure, from which we can learn a lot.
Anton Chekhov, one of the greatest of all short story writers, said ‘I think I think that when one has finished writing a short story one should delete the beginning and the end.’
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Want to know what D.D. Johnston’s favourite book was when he was a kid? Probably not. But he’s going to use it to illustrate a rule of storytelling that holds for almost every genre of writing.
EM Forster’s classic distinction between story and plot, and why truth really is stranger than fiction: