Six impossible things

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The End of the Plot

For a lot of writers, endings are the hardest part of plotting. Either they know where they want the story to end up, but not how to get there, or they know a lot of things about the story, but can’t seem to work out what the […]

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Plot is hard: Sorting

So back to plot, more directly. The next step, after assembling a huge pile of things that could happen, is arranging all the pieces into a coherent narrative. Note that I said “coherent,” not “complete.” There will undoubtedly still be gaps; the point is to get a […]

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Brainstorming blockages

“The best ideas don’t need to be sought out at all; you just have to train yourself not to swerve out of the way when they jump out in front of you.” – Jon Forss Brainstorming is a mental activity, so it is unsurprising that most of […]

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Plot is Hard: Brainstorming

“The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas, and only keep the good ones.” – Linus Pauling Once you know how you work best and what you do and do not know about your story, you actually have to sit […]

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Plot is Hard, Part 2

Once you have an idea of the kinds of plots you like, how much you need to know to get started (and how much you need to not-know in order to keep going), and the kinds of things that seem to trigger good ideas for you, you […]

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Plot is Hard, part 1

Plot is hard. There is no getting away from that. No writer I know says plot is easy; even the ones who supposedly got it for free don’t say “plot is easy” – they say things like “Well, it’s not nearly as bad as doing characters.” Plot […]

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Patterns

As many readers of this blog know, I am a knitter, and have been for years. When I first learned to knit, I wanted strict directions for anything more complicated than a rib-stitched scarf: a pattern that calls for this yarn and that needle size. I focused […]

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Development in Revision

When most people think about revising a manuscript, they think about one of two things:  polishing up the style, grammar, syntax, and so on, or making fixes where something was unclear, unexplained, or just missing. Revising does all of that, of course, but in addition, there’s almost […]

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Developing an idea, before and during

“Developing an idea” is one of those writing phrases that doesn’t have a precise definition. Ideas change and expand and twist throughout the entire writing process. The ways a writer goes about encouraging or discouraging these developments differ, depending on where in the process they are. Pre-writing […]

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The Cool Stuff

The coolness factor is possibly the best and most useful reason for doing worldbuilding in advance that I know of. A few minutes spent deciding whether the heroine’s adventure will be mostly lost in a jungle, shipwrecked on an island, trapped in a weird hotel, or hiding […]

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