Six impossible things


Story climax, part 2

Possibly the most important scene at or near the end of any story is the climax. The first difficulty here is, exactly what is “the climax” when there are several possible types and a double handful of plotlines and subplots that all need to be wrapped up? […]

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Story climax, part 1

Climax: any moment of great intensity in a literary work.                      –Concise Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms. Everybody knows what the climax of the story is, right? It’s the battle with the monster, the discovery of the cure for the plague, the revelation of the murderer, blowing […]

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Not Talking About It

A while back, I got a deceptively simple question with an apparently obvious answer, all of which turn out to be neither so simple nor so obvious as they at first seemed. The question was, in essence, “What parts of your writing career can you talk about […]

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Leaving stuff out

The other day, I was looking over two different multi-book series, each of which is easily pushing a million words. Both are quite popular in their respective genres, but they are very different in their approach. Yet it could be argued that both writers make similar mistakes. […]

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Strengths and weaknesses

One of the questions I get a lot, especially when a class of students has been asked to come up with three questions each, is “Which one of your books is the best?” It’s not quite up there with “Where do you get your ideas?” but it’s […]

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Six things I wish I’d known

Last Friday, Minnesota Public Radio reran a series of round-table shows in which they asked groups of people from various professions – teacher, musician, entrepreneur, doctor – what six things they wish they had known when they were starting out in their profession. Most of the answers […]

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Sorry, no post

Connectivity issues mean the next post will be Sunday, May 11. Apologies, The Webmaster

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Finding Time

Everybody has too much to do, always. You can tell, because half the time, the first thing people ask a writer is “When do you find time to write?” (the other half the time, the first thing is “Where do you get your ideas?” and the second […]

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How-to-write books and blogs and groups and forums are all over these days. Most of them focus on basic writing skills like dialog and plot and characterization – things that are key building blocks for nearly every piece of fiction. But there’s one that doesn’t get nearly […]

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Switching viewpoints

Last week, I got an interesting question in my email, sparked by the posts on multiple viewpoint. The writer wanted to know about switching types of viewpoint – that is, writing a multiple-viewpoint story in which some POV characters are written in first-person and some in third-person. […]

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