What makes a story work?

So I write fiction, mostly. But I started out writing (awful) poetry and (less awful) screenplays. I’ve written comics, essays, plays, rabble-rousing emails, op-eds, reviews, fanfic, and I’m a big nerd about stories in all kinds of media and genres, so much that I spent most of the scant free time in my MFA reading analyses and theory about non-prose narratives and how they’re structured.

We live in a world of stories. What can a short story writer learn from analyzing the structures of, for example, a long-running shonen anime? Or a mixed media art installation? How do we understand the narrative beats of a fight scene? What makes a narrative “experimental”? Can you literally read a room, or a building, or a street? I don’t know! But I want to find out.

I am emphatically not an expert

This newsletter is an excuse to assign myself monthly homework. I keep finding stories in strange places, and want to figure out what makes them tick. If you’re up for learning with me, come and join the study group. It’ll be fun.

Why subscribe?

Because it’s fun. Because I like to think I can pick good stories to examine. I’m good at translating lit theory jargon into sensible words. Maybe I can convince some experts to talk to me about what they do. Sometimes I’m even funny.