Wednesday, August 03, 2011

THE STORY TEMPLATE - Amy Deardon - Free Book + MORE

+ MORE from Amy: My book isn't available for another two weeks. If any of your blog readers leaves a comment on one of my two blogs, and mentions he or she read about Story Template from your blog, he or she can receive a free article: How to Publish on Kindle without Knowing HTML (either .mobi for kindle or PDF). The readers will need to send me an email addy, either posted in the comment or they can email me privately. I'll then be able to send announcements of Story Template release to those who get in touch with me, and send the copy to the winner of your drawing.


Release: August 2011
Publisher: Taegais Publishing LLC
ISBN: 978-0-9818997-3-2
$15.95 hardcover
$7.99 e-book (Kindle, Nook, and other e-readers)

Welcome, Amy. What would you like for our readers to know about you personally?
I'm married with two children, and spend much time taking care of our family. In my life BC (before children) I was a scientist who did bench research. I am a Christian who came to faith under protest through studying the historic circumstances surrounding the death of Jesus. I've written one novel that I'm honored to say has won two awards.

What is your book about?
The Story Template is a programmed learner that allows the writer to develop her story from chaos. The book uses a series of exercises for the writer to construct her story’s four foundational pillars, learn how to use the “secret weapon” of story structure: the story template, build character depth and believable change, and construct subplots. The Story Template then reviews writing techniques, and finishes with discussions of editing, writing the synopsis and query letter, submitting one’s work to agents, and types of publishing that the writer may wish to pursue.

Tell us about your family.
I’m very fortunate. My husband and I have been married over twenty years, and we have a girl and a boy. Our daughter is getting ready to go to college to study engineering, and I’m going to miss her although I know she’ll be having the time of her life. She loves to draw, compose, sing, and build robots. Our son is going into tenth grade. He loves running and building amazing contraptions.

Have you written other nonfiction books?
Not unless you want to count my dissertation, which I guess technically is considered a publication. I’ve published a few scientific and other nonfiction articles under a different name.

I’ve also written one novel, A Lever Long Enough, about a small military team that travels back in time to film the theft of Jesus’ body from the tomb. I wrote this book to be an outreach for nonbelievers – it’s not religious, but hidden within are fairly presented arguments for and against the resurrection. I like to think it demonstrates how surprisingly strong is the case for the resurrection. In a funny it describes my own journey to faith.

Do you have any other books in the works right now?
I’m anxious to get back to a novel that I was working on until March. I’ve also been kicking around the idea of doing a prequel and sequel for Lever, and possibly a children’s allegorical series based on a mysterious Time Peddler. (Don’t ask). So many possibilities, so little time. My family keeps me plenty busy, so it may be a little time before I can immerse myself into a new project.

What kinds of hobbies and leisure activities do you enjoy?
Writing is my main love, and I always am grabbing a few minutes to put down some words. I do all sorts of handcrafts – knitting, crocheting, sewing – and enjoy studying theology, science, and story structure. I bought a Kindle a year ago, and carry it with me from room to room – this is the most amazing invention for a bibliophile. I make it to Curves a few times a week. In my “spare” time I coach fiction writing: I love guiding students to shape their unique ideas from chaos.

Why did you write the featured book?
This is the book I wish I’d had while writing my first novel. Having written a lot of nonfiction, when I started my novel I was surprised by how difficult it was to get the words down. Although I liked my scenes, the story itself didn’t seem to be going correctly, even when I outlined prodigiously. I threw out more pages than I care to remember, and it took sheer grit to finally finish. When I thought about writing another novel I decided there had to be an easier way, so took a detour to understand how story worked.

How did you develop your understanding of how story worked?
I decided to use my scientific background to analyze story. To do this I chose to dissect twenty entertaining, modern novels in different genres, and fifteen more-or-less recent films. For each story I made a list of scenes, then did a word count or timed the scene, calculated percentages and other statistics, and graphed each story onto a five page chart. I studied each story’s progression, then compared the progressions of different stories to determine common pathways. My biggest surprise was finding just how unvarying were the underlying levels of the story. I also read all that I could on constructing stories. The writing how-to literature was heavy on techniques (plotting, point of view, characterization, dialogue)—all of which are important—but there wasn’t much on blending it all together. Screenwriting how-to books were stronger on structure, but still didn’t give me all I needed.

Once I had my background knowledge, I coached students to develop their stories, and thereby constructed an algorithm for the practical application of this theory.

What do you want the reader to take away from the book?
I want the reader to be encouraged that she can productively write and finish her story instead of staring at the computer and not knowing what to do next. The Story Template gives a step-by-step series of exercises that allows the writer to develop his untamed ideas into a complete, compelling manuscript.

Where on the Internet can the readers find you?
My website is There is a contact form there – if you want to drop me a note, I’d love to hear from you! I also have two blogs with links from my website. The first blog at discusses writing and publishing topics. The second blog at collects fun and serious topics that I write about as my fancy leads me. I post twice a week on each blog. I hope you come visit!

Thank you for sharing this with us, Amy. The book sounds like a valuable resource for all authors.

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Feedblitz, Facebook, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link.


Paula Vince said...

I love this sort of book, and this one sounds particularly fascinating with its scientific insights. I'd love to go into the draw for it. I live in Australia.

Amy Deardon said...

Hi Paula, I'm excited about the template algorithm because it describes parts and themes of story that I haven't seen articulated anywhere else. Although it's me saying it, this algorithm really works. My students have developed amazing stories. The template frees writing energy to allow creativity to blossom since it takes care of the established structural story elements -- The writer doesn't have to keep discovering these through tactile exploration.

Overseas shipping is OK, so definitely consider yourself part of the draw :-)

PatriciaW said...

Amy said, " I threw out more pages than I care to remember, and it took sheer grit to finally finish."

I can totally relate to this. I'm always thinking this has to be a better way. The idea of a template and algorithm speaks to my analytic engineering side. (Waving to your engineering study, Amy.)

Please count me in for this one.


Amber said...

Since one size doesn't fit all with regards to writing practices, I love that you took a new approach. Im excited to read more about your template algorithm. It sounds very interactive.

Fort worth,Tx

Sarah said...

Would love to win!

Sarah H

Amy Deardon said...

Hi Patricia, I'm hoping your writing is going better than that! Psyching yourself up to write when it doesn't seem to be working is discouraging -- you THINK this is what God has called you to do, but you can't help wondering... I'm so hoping this book will encourage someone to get through these rough patches.

Amber, I simply tried to organize a process of how one might build a story, concentrating on one aspect at a time. There are a million ways to put together a story, although in my opinion SOTP (seat of the pants) is the pits for difficulty and frustration.

Sarah, thanks for stopping by! What do you write?

Coolestmommy said...

While I'm not aspiring to be a published author, I think this book would help me where I am with my autistic son. He's very verbal, but has a hard time getting a story from his head to paper. I'm hoping I can use this book to help him become a better writer at school.

Amy Deardon said...

Hi Robyn, when I started writing fiction, I was surprised by how very different the process is from writing nonfiction. The story is a complex animal, but the published fiction writers I know discover their stories mostly through intuition and experience. Even the outliners do their outlines intuitively. Sadly I'm not that talented! I wanted to establish some good, practical, objective direction that a newbie could follow to allow him to develop something reasonable. I'm betting your boy has some awesome ideas -- kids at that age often do. Good luck to him!

apple blossom said...

love to win thanks for the chance

live in ND

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Jennifer Bogart said...

Hi Amy!

I read and reviewed A Lever Long Enough when it first came out :). I'd love to be entered for your latest work as well.

I'm in Alberta, Canada.

Amy Deardon said...

Hi Apple Blossom, thanks for stopping by! Jennifer, of course I remember you :-) How are the wilds of Canada?

Melissa M. said...

I could definitely use this book! I easily get stuck in my writing, and generally go without a lot of structure.

-Melissa from TX