Six impossible things

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Future Logic

Possibly the most common complaint writers have – and I mean any writers, personal, amateur, professional, bestselling, famous, obscure – is that they don’t have enough time to write. At a presentation a few years back, that was the first thing someone asked: “How do you make […]

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The Villain Continuum

Every person in the world has their own perspective, and most of them are different from yours. It follows that if you want to do realistic characters, many (if not most) of them will have perspectives that differ from yours. Which means that in order to make […]

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Heroes and Villains

One of the bits of writing wisdom that crops up quite often is that writers find villains more fun to write than heroes. The usual reason given for this is that villains have flaws and are therefore more complex and interesting characters than your typical hero. This […]

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Writing basics: Dialog

Dialog is a balance of opposing forces. On the one hand, it’s supposed to be two or more people talking to each other, so it can be considerably less formal than most narrative; on the other hand, it’s not a transcription or recreation of an actual conversation, […]

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Writing basics: Show and tell

“Show, don’t tell” has been basic fiction writing advice since Homer. It could be rendered less colloquially as “Dramatize, don’t summarize,” but either way, it doesn’t say “Show everything, tell nothing.” This leaves many beginning authors with two unanswered questions: 1) How, exactly, is showing/dramatizing different from […]

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Writing Basics: Description 2

When someone says “description,” most people think of static passages – a page telling the reader details about the current setting or background, or a paragraph about a character’s appearance. This isn’t the only way to approach that sort of description, though. It is often more memorable […]

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Basics: Description 1

Description is as much about what you choose to describe and when you choose to describe it as it is about how you describe it. Furthermore, there are really significant differences in how much description different readers like or can even tolerate, and no writer is going […]

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Basics: Process

The last two posts have talked about the basic parts of a plot. How you get to it – the process of building or fixing a plot – is pretty basic, too. The specifics tend to vary from writer to writer, and often from book to book, […]

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Basics: Plot, part 2

Quick review: Plot, in its most basic version, goes like this: A character (or characters) have a problem Where something important is at stake That the character(s) care deeply about. They try to solve the problem, and Eventually succeed or fail. I went through the first three […]

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Basics: Plot, part 1

By popular demand, I’m starting the “basics” posts with plot. Plot, in its most basic version, goes like this: A character (or characters) have a problem Where something important is at stake That the character(s) care deeply about. They try to solve the problem, and Eventually succeed […]

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