Overall Rating: 5 out of 5

This book, by Alicia Rasley, is one of my favorites for the planning stage.  She makes you think to get your characters, conflicts, and plot in gear.  This is definitely my Go-To-Book if I’m having trouble getting an outline or imagining where I want my story to go.

The main goal of this guidebook is to help you develop your story by finding all the elements of the “the story within”.  Similar to the WtBN Workbook (except sans little blanks to write in), The Story Within Guidebook follows a Lesson-Example-Exercise format, and Rasley holds your hand (in a non-annoying, nurturing way) through each step.  Like I said, she’ll make you think and think hard to create the best plot for your characters, the best characters for your plot, and the best conflict to propel your story forward.

Even if you don’t need more planning for your WIP, even if your manuscript is almost finished, and even if you’re in the revision stages, The Story Within will force you to really analyze the quality of your conflict.  Is this the worst my hero could be experiencing?  Does this villain really foil him?  Does the love-interest offer the most potential for conflict?  Questions like these will give you more than one “Aha!” moment – they certainly did for me.

With fabulous examples to demonstrate the lessons, both from external sources and Rasley’s own mind, The Story Within is a great resource for writers.  Best of all, it’s available online as a pdf (no waiting for the Amazon package!).  Even better, if you’re not sure you want to shell out the cash for another book on your shelf (hey, we’ve all been there…are there presently), you can read her many free articles online.  Don’t pass her invaluable guidance up.

-S.

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