Story Kitchen, dancers, abstract

Click the arrow above for the audio version of this post.


  1. Beginning

Story structure comes not from some forced outline, but from our instinctual understanding of beginnings, middles, and ends. At the beginning of a story, something’s out of order. A hero is someone who strives to return things to order. Simple!

  1. Middle

Yet just because something’s simple doesn’t mean it’s easy. Middles are the hardest to write. You know your character, you know what her quest is. But how do you get her from point A to point C? This part is what the audience comes to see. It’s why the reader buys the book. Who cares about a hero who sashays from chaos to order with no obstacles in between?

  1. End

You already know how to write clear sentences, strong description, and interesting characters. Combining these things into a great story, one that fulfills you as an author and that readers will enjoy, requires that you be your own hero and put your story in the right order—the order that works not only for your reader, but also for you. It’s not easy to do, but it’s simple. At the Story Kitchen I’ll show you how, and we’ll get you motivated to get it finished.

That’s story structure. That’s the Story Kitchen. Where we build the structure that’s right for YOUR story.

Join me in July and August for the Story Kitchen, at the Flintridge Bookstore and Coffeehouse. Let’s put your story in order.

Class size is limited so every story gets lots of attention.

Dates: July 13th, 20th, 27th, and August 3d and 10th.
Times: Wednesday evenings, 6:30-8:45PM.
Location: Flintridge Bookstore & Coffeehouse, 1010 Foothill Blvd., La Cañada Flintridge, CA 91011
Cost: $249 for 5 weeks. Payments are made to the Flintridge Bookstore & Coffeehouse, either in person or by phone at (818) 790-0717.
Payment in full is required by end of business on July 10th. Refunds are pro-rated.

store contact: Gail Mishkin,
class contact: Petrea Burchard,

Story Kitchen,


#dancers#Flintridge Bookstore#Story Kitchen#story structure


  1. chris - July 1, 2016 @ 12:00

    Love the post!… Btw, got caught up in your voice…. Your voice definitely needs to be contracted out for audiobooks!.. Clarity is thru the roof, lady..

    • Petrea - July 1, 2016 @ 12:20

      Thanks, Chris. I’ve worked in voice-over for most of my career, but haven’t branched into audiobooks until now. I’m just getting started! Scary and exciting at the same time.

  2. Shelley - July 1, 2016 @ 17:06

    Petrea, please forgive me for losing track of your blog! I’m a bad friend. Your description of writing a story is so concise and clear, you make me feel I could do it. 🙂 And I love that your groups for the StoryKitchen are small and cosy. Sounds fabulous !! And like Chris, I got lost in your voice … I’d happily have you read me a book.

    • Petrea - July 1, 2016 @ 17:34

      Hi Shelley/Shell, I’ve finally learned that since I moved to WordPress many blogs don’t automatically link back, so I have to include my link in my text, or select the Name/URL option, which is a lot of extra steps. So you didn’t lose track of me, WordPress did!

      I’m glad you like the audio. I hope to read the world a book very soon.

  3. William Kendall - July 2, 2016 @ 11:15

    Good points!

  4. Lowell - July 7, 2016 @ 03:58

    This reminds me so much of my mother’s work. She published 22 books, mostly of a religious character – she was a member of the Evangelical Covenant Church, a breakoff from the Swedish Lutheran Church. She taught writing at seminars around the country, and was especially proud of her work with the Billy Graham School of Writing, which at the time was the seminar de jour for Christian writers.

    Her name was Margaret J. Anderson and she’s perhaps best-known for her “The Christian Writer’s Handbook,” published by Harper & Row (now out-of-print). Harper told her that it was a great book and would appeal to a larger audience if she took out the Christian references, but she never did. 🙂

    Best wishes to you with Story Kitchen! Sounds great!

    • Petrea - July 7, 2016 @ 08:14

      The Christian market is not my market, but it’s huge these days and covers all genres. Your mother was ahead of her time.

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