Story Building Mastery 4 – Story Genre

Story Genre


So you think you know what Story Genre is, huh? It can be best understood as a story’s designation of setting, style, and audience. Other definitions include form, content, and technique. What needs to be keyed in on here is that Story Genre moves the READER through the story, or the author’s means of connecting the reader to the story. Don’t confuse this with Story Genotype, which I’ll talk about next time, which moves the MAIN CHARACTERS through the story, or is the author’s way of connecting the main characters to the story. What do I mean? In genre, setting and style are most important. The characters are unaffected by this, it is the reader that bears the impact.

For instance, consider setting. A Western is characterized by a “cowboy” type setting, usually mid to late 1800’s. The characters are unaffected because it’s simply a reflection of their normal world. This setting designation is used to connect the reader to that world.

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Contest Rules and Prizes – Bet Between Diane M. Graham and Keven Newsome


CLICK HERE to read the details about the bet. Join us in the fun and YOU may be the winner! The bet will begin May 21, 2012. All contest entries MUST BE CLAIMED PRIOR TO THAT DATE.


  1. To enter, you must first join the contest “event” on Facebook. If you are not a Facebook user, leave a comment here explaining and you’ll also be entered. 1 entry just for joining the event.


  1. Participating in the Bet Discussion Group will give you 5 entries. Spoilers for both books may be given here. This group is to be a real time interaction opportunity as Keven reads through Diane’s book and gives his thoughts to the group. It is highly recommended that you read both I Am Ocilla and Winter prior to May 14 before joining this group. No requests to join will be granted after that date.
  2. Subscribe to either Diane’s blog or Keven’s blog and leave a comment on any post with your name claiming your entry. If you’re already subscribed, simply leave a comment and ask for the entry. 1 entry per website that you subscribe to.
  3. “Like” either FB fan page of Diane or Keven and leave a wall post asking for your entry. If you already “Like” the page, simply leave a wall post and ask for the entry. 1 entry per fan page that you “Like.”
  4. Purchase a copy of Winter and/or I Am Ocilla. You must provide proof of your purchase either by confirmation email or receipt. 15 entries will be given for each book purchased. If you already have the book, simply show proof and asked to these entries.
    1. Winter –
    2. I Am Ocilla –
  5. Posting Amazon reviews of each book will receive 5 entries per book reviewed. If you’ve already reviewed on Amazon, simply ask for these entries.
    1. Winter –
    2. I Am Ocilla –
  6. Making a blog post with mini reviews of each book, choosing a winner in the bet, and explaining why you chose that winner, will receive 25 entries. Please forward one of us the link.
  7. Making a creative video the same as number 6, will receive 30 entries. Please forward one of us the link.
  8. Being correct in the winner you chose in number 6 or 7, will get you a bonus 20 entries.
  9. “Like” or subscribe to the FB fanpage or website of any of the participating books in the giveaway. Leave a wall post or comment on those sites claiming your entry. We’ll be watching. You can earn only 1 additional entry for each book.
  10. Additional random bonus entries may be given out by either Keven or Diane to anyone who exhibits enthusiasm over the bet, creates their own side bets, team jingles, or other general hoopla while having fun with all of this. Basically…if you make a lot of noise, it could be good for you.


  • 1st Prize – 1 winner will receive a Kindle Touch fully loaded with the entire electronic book prize list. (minimum of 50 contest participants required.) In the event that there are one hundred (100) contest participants, the 1st Prize Kindle Touch will be REPLACED with a Grand Prize Kindle Fire.
  • 2nd Prize – 1 winner will receive the entire electronic book prize list. (minimum of 35 contest participants required.)
  • 3rd Prize – 1 winner will receive five (5) electronic books of their choice from the electronic book prize list. (minimum of 25 contest entrants required.)
  • 4th Prize – 1 winner will receive two (2) electronic books of their choice from the Splashdown catalog only. (minimum of 15 contest participants required.)
  • 5th Prize – 1 winner will receive one (1) electronic book of their choice from the Splashdown catalog only. (minimum of 10 contest participants required.)

Electronic Book Prize List
(Additions to the list are continually being added!)

  • I Am Ocilla, by Diane M. Graham SB catalog
  • Winter, by Keven Newsome SB catalog
  • Finding Angel, by Kat Heckenbach SB catalog
  • Alpha Redemption, by PA Baines SB catalog
  • The Muse, by Fred Warren SB catalog
  • Tales of a Dim Knight, by Adam and Andrea Graham SB catalog
  • Caffeine, by Ryan Grabow SB catalog
  • The Duke’s Handmaid, by Caprice Hokstad SB catalog
  • Faith Awakened, by Grace Bridges SB catalog
  • Aquasynthesis, by various. A Splashdown Books short story anthology. SB catalog
  • Realities Dawn, by R. L. Copple SB catalog
  • The Crystal Portal, by Travis Perry and Mike Lynch SB catalog
  • Star of Justice, by Robynn Tolbert SB catalog
  • Rift Jump, by Greg Mitchel SB catalog
  • Kill FM 100, by Teric Darken. Treasureline Publishing.
  • War of Attrition, by Frank Creed. The Writer’s Cafe Press.
  • Wind Rider 1 & 2, by Rebecca P. Minor. Diminished Media Group.
  • The Worker Prince, by Bryan Thomas Schmidt. Diminished Media Group.
  • Cancelled, by Michael Britton.
  • Whisper a Scream, by Pete Turner. Treasureline Publishing.
  • Daughter of Light, by Morgan L. Busse. Marcher Lord Press

Story Building Mastery 3 – Five Act Structure

Five Act Structure


We’ll soon be getting into some familiar territory. If you’ve had any creative writing study at all in high school, then you’ve at least heard about the Five Act Structure. Those of you who are more experienced with writing will have a fairly decent grasp of how the Five Act Structure works.

The Five Act Structure is a way to describe the basic development of any story. In Level 1 we talked about the focus or main core with which the story will be developed. Here we’ll look at how the story is broken down into definable sections. There’s nothing mystical about this, but every story pretty much follows the Five Act Structure. Because it’s fundamentally the way story telling has developed through all the centuries that story telling has existed. Let’s look at each Act and I’ll describe what they’re getting at.

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A New Step in Following God

Six months ago I would have rolled my eyes. A year ago I would have snickered. Two years ago I would have laughed in your face. But I am reasonably certain God wants my next step in following him to be as a pastor of a church.

This has really been a labored point of prayer for some time now. My wife and I have been discussing it frequently. There has been some resistance to the idea and I think I figured out what it is.

You see, I grew up in rural south Mississippi. Pastors have an “image” there. Churches have a very distinct “personality” for the most part. Neither of these have I ever felt drawn to. I’ve discovered after being out of the region for nearly three years, that these churches are almost twenty years behind the curve when compared to the rest of the country. Many of them hold more tightly to tradition and the legacy teachings of their parents and grandparents than they do the actual teachings of the Bible. Many pastors fall into the “image” of the mild-mannered, suit wearing, always smiling, hand shaking, caricature of a real human being.

I am NOT and will NEVER be anything like that. And I think that’s why my wife and I have been resistant to the idea.

Don’t get me wrong. Not all churches and pastors in south Mississippi are like that. But most of the ones I grew up in were, and still many of the small country churches remain that way.

But here is what I’m called to do. And I take this straight from my new ministry resume:

I am passionate about teaching God’s Word. It is the sole reason I went to Seminary to further my education. I don’t care where I teach the Word, but I know that I am called to do so with every opportunity that presents itself. I believe the Bible is the ultimate standard for everything. I also believe that too many of our churches have fallen away from the Bible, preferring instead to pursue the traditions and beliefs inherited by them from others. Churches need a fundamental return to the Bible, and Christians need a better understanding of what the Bible means to their faith and why they believe what they claim to believe.

Pastoring a church is not about leading people, growing numbers, or “acting” the way pastors are expected to act. The pastor of a church should always seek to build disciples who go out and reach people. With Christ as our focus, the Bible as our guide, and discipleship as our objective, all of the other things will be added by default. We must return to the true beliefs of Christianity, teach the Bible voraciously, and create disciples to do the same. That is the job of a pastor.

So that’s where I am. That’s what I think God would have me do now. Teach the Bible and create disciples. Ultimately we are all called to do that, but we are not all in the same place in that journey. This is the next step for me. I’ve put my resume out there. Now it’s up to God to make it happen if this is what he truly wants.

But I can promise you this. Me as a pastor will not look like any pastor you’ve known. It will be me. Doing what I’ve always done. Just on a larger scale. Please pray for me as I seek to more closely follow God.


Story Building Mastery 2 – The Tri-Core Substructure



This week I want to talk about the foundational layer of story building, the Tri-Core Substructure. Shiny, huh? I made that term up myself because neither my publisher nor I could think of a proper pre-existing term.

What is the Tri-Core Substructure? It is the very basic most primitive form of a story: Character, Experience, Reaction. Or in other words, he came, he saw, he did. Each of these three primitive parts of a story can be reduced to the three core parts of which we will be talking about. Character (personal development), Meaning (experiential objective), Plot (action/reaction).

Continue reading Story Building Mastery 2 – The Tri-Core Substructure