Why 99 Percent Of Stories Are Meaningless – Jack Grapes

Jack Grapes, Artist, Writer, Author, Instructor: I want to make people better writers not better plotters.

Film Courage: What is the invisible motor? 

Jack: The idea that a work of art is a mechanical thing that’s an analogy I use but I discovered it goes all the way back to the Russian formalists who looked at the form rather than the content. In other words not the story but the devices you use to make the story come alive and they felt that a work of art was like a machine and it worked as I said in one of the analogies this guy used (the man named Viktor Shklovsky) he said it was like a car and he said some other things but I go in a slightly different direction. There’s three things with the car, there’s the engine, there’s the inner structure and decor and is what the car looks like on the outside. What the car looks like on the outside is your story, that’s your story. A lot of people write their stories and there’s no engine and there’s nothing inside. It’s like a fake set. With movies a lot of that’s the outer trappings of it but to me the motor, that’s under the hood, that’s the invisible motor. That powers a poem or story and when you work on your story or whatever you’re going to be writing, the techniques that I teach are the mechanics of that invisible motor that powers your story. So that’s what I mean when I say the invisible motor and most writing classes don’t really go to the invisible motor, they go with the design of the car, the story, how it looks from the outside, but they don’t really get into writing…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).

Watch the video interview on Youtube here
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Method Writing: The First Four Concepts by Jack Grapes

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Advanced Method Writing by Jack Grapes






Jack Grapes is an award-winning poet, playwright, actor, teacher, and the editor and publisher of ONTHEBUS, one of the top literary journals in the country. He has won several publishing grants and Fellowships in Literature from the National Endowment for the Arts. He’s also received nine Artist-in- Residence Grants from the California Arts Council to teach writing in various schools throughout Los Angeles. He is the author of 13 books of poetry, including TREES, COFFEE, AND THE EYES OF DEER, and BREAKING DOWN THE SURFACE OF THE WORLD. A spoken-word CD, Pretend, was recently issued by DePaul University. He is also author of a chapbook of poems and paintings titled AND THE RUNNING FORM, NAKED, BLAKE. His most recent publication is LUCKY FINDS, a boxed set of 50 cards that extend and parody the dynamic artistic productions of high-modernist poets such as Ezra Pound and Charles Olson. For more information on Jack’s classes, please visit here.


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