Story Trumps Structure ~ Lynley Wayne: Outside the Margins

Join us as Lynley Wayne goes Outside the Margins.

Lynley Wayne OTMStory Trumps Structure

I recently read a book that changed my life.

For the biggest part of my writing career I’ve made it a point to read books on writing, marketing, and any aspect of this crazy profession. Almost every book I find talks about how important it is to plot, or how to plot, or ways to plot better.

I’m sure you noticed the common theme: Plotting.

I kept telling myself that the only way I would ever be a “real” writer was to be able to plot. After all, that’s what all the books say, so it must be true. Right?


I’m not a plotter. I doubt I’ll ever be a plotter. I’m what most people refer to as a pantser. Although, after reading this book, I would say I’m more of an organic writer. I choose to let the story unfold in an organic matter, rather than force my characters to behave a certain way in order to work in a plot point.

I have tried to plot out books. When I do, one of two things happen: I either lose interest in writing the book or I get so frustrated with the process I end up tossing it out.

Then I found, Story Trumps Structure by Steven James, and it changed my life. This is the first book I’ve ever read that says it’s okay to if you don’t plot. In fact, he thinks it makes for a better story when you don’t plot.

For the first time in my writing career I felt validated in the way I tell stories. I’ve often said I’m a good storyteller but I’m a horrible writer. What I mean by that is; I think I do an okay job of telling a story that people want to read. However, when it comes to the technical aspects of writing, yeah, I’m not so great at those. I use commas way more than I should. I tend to use certain words over and over. I can’t always keep my tenses straight and I have been known to unintentionally jump from one point of view to another in the middle of a scene. And let’s not forget my love affair with fragments and run-ons.

I’m getting better, but I have a feeling it’s going to be a life long process. Which is why you will never, ever, ever, hear me say I don’t need an editor.

The thing is, when I’m writing I don’t worry about any of that stuff. It doesn’t matter. What matters is having characters that your readers can connect with, that they care about. What’s important is telling a story that people want to follow through to the end.

At least that’s how I see it.

All that other stuff can be easily fixed. A bad story with uninteresting characters…not so much.

This book gave me permission—for lack of a better word—to break the rules, to write the way I want, and keep telling my stories my way.


~ Lynley Wayne

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

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4 thoughts on “Story Trumps Structure ~ Lynley Wayne: Outside the Margins

  1. I wish I could plot, but I can’t beyond a very sketchy framework. I have ideas, but tend to just see where things go and where characters take me. It can be very scary. However, some time at the beginning of last year, I heard Bernard Cornwell talking about the book he was writing. Steve Wright asked him what is was going to be about and he said he didn’t know as he’d only written a chapter. I felt better after hearing him say that. Perhaps I should read the book you mention.

    • For me, the best thing about writing is not knowing what’s going to happen. That’s why I struggled so much with trying to force myself to plot. Knowing everything took all the fun out of writing. I much prefer to let the story unfold in an organic and logical nature. I can go back in and fix any holes in the story on revision, but the heart of the story is infused in that first draft. At least that’s true for me.

      If you read Story Trumps Structure, you’ll have to let me know what you think. Happy reading. 🙂

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