Writers should be thirsty for all the assistance offered to them. Hell, everyone who works daily to improve a skill should. And there are plenty of formulae, methods and structures out there for the writer (and I don’t mean that in any negative sense).
Larry Brooks’ Six Core Competencies is one of my favourites. You can apply the Competencies in theory (i.e. be inspired by them before you put pen to paper) and in practice (as you type), as retrospective checking (if you’ve just discovered them) or as planning procedure (now you know them!).
However, just as all writers must hone their craft, all teachers must refine how they communicate their methodologies.
Larry’s recent post Six Core Analogies for the Six Core Competencies is a wonderful and self-aware attempt to describe of each of his Competencies in the form of a metaphor which clarifies each through analogy. As the man himself says “One way to get the wrong stuff unstuck and the right stuff successfully installed is to experience the learning […] in different ways.”
I won’t spoil them for you – go and read them in situ – but I must say these are timely (Charlie Sheen as ‘Character’), provocative (Sex as ‘Structure/Plot’) and, most importantly, graspable (especially for Concept, the trickiest competency of all).
If his article whets your appetite you could do no better than to get the full book, Story Engineering: Mastering the Six Core Competencies of successful writing, to get the whole picture.