Three Fiction Powerhouses Answer Deep Writing Questions

They're called 'storymasters'. Agent and author Donald Maass, along with authors James Scott Bell and Chris Vogler. Together, these men comprise decades of experience as writers and writing teachers. 

James Scott Bell, besides numerous novels, has written Plot and Structure, Revision and Self-Editing, and Writing Fiction for All You're Worth.

Christopher Vogler is the author of The Writer's JourneyMemo from the Story Department, and Myth and the Movies, among others.

These amazing instructors will teach a three and a half day workshop called Storymasters in Houston, Texas on Novemeber 3-6, 2011. To give you a taste of what they offer, they answer the following questions. Each of them have some fascinating answers.

Q: There are lots of dark protagonists around lately.  Is this a fashion or an archetype?  What makes them popular?  What makes them work?

Q: Is there really any such thing as plot, or is that just an easy label for something else? 

Q: In constructing character arcs, what’s the most important consideration?

Q: Beginner story mistakes are obvious, but even pros have weaknesses.  What’s their most frequent shortcoming?

Q: You three Story Masters each teach universal principles but also singular techniques.  What dimension of storytelling is most important to you?   

To find out what they say, go to the Writer's Digest article. And for a fun read, check out Bell's new novel, Pay Me in Flesh, about a female zombie lawyer. It'll make you laugh.

My favorite points: Bell's discussion of 'layers of character', Maass' explanation of how authors wimp out with their plot, and Vogler's explanation of why some professional writers overthink and overwrite. How about you?

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