I’m not a fan of prescriptive writing. The sort of stuff where you learn ‘how’ to write a proper story, where you learn about protagonists, antagonists, story arc, blah blah blah. I’ve read a lot of novels in my writing genre (crime / horror / dark / dystopian fiction), and I think I’ve absorbed story structure into my head. My characters have challenges and conflict.
But I enjoy reading about writing, and I particularly enjoy listening to the Writing Excuses podcast. http://www.writingexcuses.com/ You can subscribe via iTunes.
This week, they were talking about “Hero’s Journey” http://www.writingexcuses.com/2013/01/13/writing-excuses-8-2-heros-journey/ and there’s a lot of interesting stuff in there. They also link the theory to popular stories and films, like Harry Potter, Star Wars, and the Lord of the Rings story. Examples like that really bring home the reasoning behind the theories.
I’ve searched some of the stuff they talk about, and include links below.
I’m not saying (and they’re not saying) that your stories have to follow these prescriptive plans, but it’s worth reading about the theories to see if they might be useful to you.