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5 People Reviewed This Product
  • By Patricia A O'Neil
    Aug 1, 2019
    If your story just doesn’t seem to a decent hook in the plot, or the characters seem flat, this book was written for you. Breaking down the common factors of all good stories, Grant Hudson, uses examples of modern and classic literature/films to show how good writing can be as much of a science as it is an art. There are times when it seems he is repeating himself, but he is demonstrating how his “formula” can be applied to every successful story, over and again. So, if you want to improve your writing skills, or just want to understand an author’s message clearer, this is the book for you.
  • By Julie C. Eger
    Jan 27, 2019
    Story ideas come into my mind, usually as a first line that grabs my interest. I jot the idea in a notebook, along with a short note of where the idea came from or where I think it will lead. I have a dozen notebooks filled with story ideas. But my stories had no momentum, no end. It was just pretty prose. Norbert Blei, one of my mentor’s, (God rest his soul) told me once, “You’re good out of the gate but your cake falls flat 3/4 of the way around the track.” Norb purposefully mixed those metaphors to identify where I was struggling. I knew he was right but I didn’t know how to fix it. I kept searching for some kind of recipe that would add the right ingredient to get to a successful story-ending. That was back in 2012. In 2018 (maybe my lucky year?) I was introduced to Grant Hudson’s book, “How Stories Really Work - Exploring the Physics of Fiction.” And just like that, everything changed. I felt like I was in Home Economics class where the teacher had us gather all the ingredients... More > before we started making the cake. “One missing ingredient will ruin your recipe.” I realized I’d only been gathering ‘beginnings’ to stories without giving much thought to the endings. Grant’s book showed me how to think to get to the kind of endings I had been searching for. Ones that made the reader ponder. I admit I’m a slow learner but I have been able to use the strategies in Grant’s book to find the endings that feel right in my stories. For me, reading How Stories Really Work really was a happy ending.< Less
  • By Holly Peterson
    May 22, 2018
    How Stories Really Work is a fascinating read and so helpful. You get to see, sort of Matrix style, what is really going on that makes good stories draw you in, and how to create your own stories with power to hold reader attention and give them something wonderful. I definitely recommend it!
  • By Mia Warren-Brown
    Mar 21, 2018
    Loved the book. Have used the principles in many a story. It all makes so much sense. If you want help in drawing readers in - this is the book to get
  • By Andrew Dustin Poole
    Jul 4, 2017
    I first discovered Grant Hudson when I read a blog post he wrote and was impressed enough to investigate his books. They were new and lacked reviews. They were also expensive. But the premise of "How Stories Really Work" was singularly unique and made bold claims. I looked at a digital preview and quickly realized that I was reading a writing book unlike any I had ever seen. And I've read quite a few! What Mr. Hudson offers is fundamentally a different way of seeing. He strips bare classic novels and blockbuster movies to expose the nuts and bolts driving the machine and explains in detail how and why it works. The most foundational element of Hudson's work is the physics concept of vacuums. Once you read "How Stories Really Work," you see them everywhere--gaping holes pulling at everything in their path to fill the void. In fiction, vacuums are a way of understanding human needs, desires, and their fulfillment or lack of fulfillment. The writer has a desire to... More > write a certain story (a vacuum!), the reader has certain needs he or she is consciously or unconsciously trying to fill by reading the story (a vacuum!), characters have wants and needs that drive the plot (more vacuums!), and authors create suspense (linear) and mystery vacuums with events in the story and strategic word choice, pulling the readers in. Hudson lays out how these mechanics work with clear and concise definitions and then plunges presents detailed analyses of well-known stories, showing they work in action. Hudson also categorizes all fiction into four genres: epic, tragedy, irony, and comedy/romance and lists the ingredients for each. Once again, vacuums play a basic role in determining a story's genre based on the nature of the vacuums and whether or not they are fulfilled. After reading, you may find traditional writing advice feels incomplete. That's because Hudson teaches us to see more basic parts beneath the hood. This knowledge was worth every dollar I paid. Ebook readers should note that the book lacks a hyperlinked table of contents. My advice would be to bookmark places of interest, especially the genre lists. There's a nice glossary of terms in the back that helps having to avoid finding them in the body text again.< Less
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Product Details

Clarendon House Publications
September 8, 2016
Perfect-bound Paperback
Interior Ink
Black & white
1.04 lbs.
Dimensions (inches)
5.83 wide x 8.26 tall
Product ID
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