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.
D.D. Johnston explains in five minutes everything you need to know to understand every story ever told. Enjoy!
Click this link to open the story planner worksheet that accompanies this video.
read video transcript
When discussing story and plot, it’s standard for creative writing tutors to introduce a diagram to illustrate the structure of a story. But which diagram should you follow? And how much can a drawing really teach you about structuring your narrative?
Onlinewritingtips.com was lovingly conceived by D.D. Johnston, whose first novel, Peace, Love, & Petrol Bombs, was a 2011 book of the year in The Sunday Herald. It has been recorded as an audio book for audible.com and translated into Spanish as Paz, amor y cócteles molotov. His second novel, The Deconstruction of Professor Thrub, was a 2013 book of the year in The Morning Star, where it was described as “determinedly extraordinary”. His third novel, a mystery suspense thriller, is anticipated in 2015. His short fiction has been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize and he has years of experience teaching Creative Writing – he is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Gloucestershire where in 2013 his excellence as an educator was recognised with a University Teaching Fellowship.
In delivering onlinewritingtips.com, he’s supported by Lucy Tyler and Tyler Keevil. Lucy’s plays have been performed in London, Berlin, and New York. They include The Operators, which in summer 2011 ran in Washington to critical acclaim, and The Measurements of a Murderer, which has recently been anthologised in Scenes for a Diverse World. She founded Eleven Places Theatre Company, and is currently researching a book on the different methods used to develop new writing. She’ll be contributing a range of content, particularly focusing on narrative structure and dialogue.
Tyler Keevil won the Readers’ Prize for Wales Book of the Year with successive novels. He won it for his debut novel, Fireball, and won it again for his second novel, The Drive. He has published short fiction in a variety of magazines and anthologies on both sides of the Atlantic – including New Welsh Review, On Spec, Transmission, Brace, Staple, and Planet: The Welsh Internationalist – and 2014 saw the publication of his collected stories, Burrard Inlet. He has won many writing awards including, most recently, the $10,000 Journey Prize. He’ll be contributing advice in several different areas, particularly concerning getting published and submitting to agents and editors.
All three tutors are Senior lecturers at the University of Gloucestershire, where they’ve helped to develop the most popular (in terms of student satisfaction) Creative Writing course in the UK. You can learn more about studying at the University of Gloucestershire via the official website or the UoG Creative Writing Blog.