Author’s Note

Author’s Note

I intend Story Alchemy, The Search for the Philosopher’s Stone of Storytelling to be a companion volume to Novelsmithing, The Structural Foundation of Plot Character and Narration. Whereas Novelsmithing addresses more directly the craft of novel writing, Story Alchemy focuses on the inner processes of storytelling and may more readily be applied to all forms of narrative fiction and screenwriting. Story Alchemy bears a relationship to alchemy but is also entrenched in depth psychology. I ran onto many of the principles developed in these pages while studying and practicing modified therapeutic techniques suggested by Carl Gustav Jung. Specifically, I developed this material using Jung’s Active Imagination but redirected its emphasis to better suit the needs of an author.

I have seen fit to capitalize the first letters of some words normally left lowercase. These words have a more specialized meaning in Jungian psychology as opposed to casual usage. These are words such as Consciousness, the Unconscious, the Shadow, Transcendent Function, etc.

In the last few decades, game theory has also taken on the methods of narrative storytelling, and yet it has maintained its inclination to keep the player at center stage and actively engaged in the unfolding action. For that reason, game theory has become an extremely interesting subject and hotly contested. I do have something to say about game theory, but this book didn’t seem the place to express it. Instead, I’ve created a new blog at I’ll post my thoughts on the subject there as time and inclination permit.

The reader should realize that what I put forth here is the culmination of sixty years of reading, writing and research. This is in many ways the apex of my life’s work. Although it starts out with elementary concepts, it rapidly becomes more complex, and the material more difficult to conceptualize. I’ve provided a number of illustrations to help get the ideas across. My hope is that the reader will visit these pages time and again to come to terms with the subject matter. In many ways, it is a psychic pilgrimage into the vast little-known world of the soul.

I would also like to reinforce the fact that all the personal experiences and dreams I convey in Story Alchemy actually occurred as described. I’ve fabricated nothing, nor have I changed the circumstance to fit the situation for a more compelling narrative.

One thing for sure. You’ve seen nothing like this before.