Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Emotional Structure by Peter Dunne

Publisher: Linden Publishing
ISBN-13: 978-1884956539

For those of us who have trouble with middles, for those of us who struggle with internal conflict, for those of us who want to give our manuscripts more impact, Peter Dunne's Emotional Structure is the book to read.
Blog sister Tammy Schubert recommended it to me a few months ago, and I've been thanking her ever since. This book is so chock-full of gems and secrets, I almost don't know where to begin.

Emotional Structure: Creating the Story Behind the Plot is labeled "A Guide for Screenwriters," but it's just as valuable for novelists, as well. Dunne's premise is that the emotion is in your story, not your plot. And, though both are necessary, story is much more important than plot. Dunne contends that there is just as much structure to the inner journey your protagonist takes (the story), as her outer journey (the plot). He believes the outer should flow from the inner, not the other way around. Especially in the middle.

"The only way to look at the second act is in terms of its emotional content," he says. "The middle of the script is the movie." Or if you're a novelist, the middle of the novel is the book. "If you aren't dealing with the emotional undercurrent of the characters' relationships in Act Two, then you aren't writing the movie. You're doing something else. Usually something bad."
Dunne helps the writer think through her character's emotional journey, make sense of it, and find her own emotional truth. "No plot, no matter how clever, is worth anything if it doesn't ultimately connect your truth to mine."

I'm only halfway through Emotional Structure, but already I can see an improvement in my writing. Dunne's book is inspiring and motivating. It makes me want to write and write well. It's definitely a must have for the professional writer.

Rating: 5 Petit Fours and 0 Hot Tamales
Reviewed by: Linsey Lanier


Pam said...

This sounds like a must-read for me. I am going to add it to my amazon wish list right now!

Also, I'm doing a giveaway on my blog site this week. Check it out at http://pamasberry.com.

Maxine Davis said...


Thanks for the review. It sounds like the medicine I need to cure my woes. I will certainly get it and read it.

Carol Burnside said...

Hmm. This sounds like it's right up my alley. I'm always looking at my story from the emotional aspect. Will have to check this out.

Tami Brothers said...

Okay. You caught my interest. I'll have to find it and see if it will help me. I've never done the 'Acts' version before...


Marilyn Baron said...

I'll have to put this on my list. It sounds great.

Marilyn Baron