Six impossible things



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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George, Ann, and the Firefight – Some things to do and not do

I recently read a dual-viewpoint story that I nearly put down right in the middle, even though I’d been thoroughly enjoying it up until that point, because of the way the author handled the viewpoints. Specifically, the question of which viewpoint to use to tell the reader […]

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More on using multiple viewpoint

A couple of folks had questions about the last post, most notably “How do you know your story is complex enough for multiple viewpoint?” and “Does it count as multiple viewpoint if it’s a camera-type that follows different characters?” So I thought I’d spend another post on […]

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Setting out to do multiple viewpoint

Note to self: When the blog posting date happens the day after a major busy day (like, say, the day the taxes are due), write it in advance, because you are going to get home from dropping stuff in the mail and collapse and completely forget to […]

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Character voices

Announcements: For the past year, Tim Cooper has been running around Minneapolis taking pictures of different people reading Emma Bull’s War for the Oaks in places featured in the book. He’s currently running a kickstarter project to finance an art book collecting all the photos. Check it […]

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From the mailbag #7

How much do you develop your characters prior to their appearance onstage? Not much. Usually, they either walk into my head fully formed or develop as I write them. Very occasionally, I’ll poke at one of them before I start writing, but it never seems to be […]

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Plotting in bits and pieces

There are a myriad of books out there on how to construct a plot. Most of them, so far as I can tell, seem to take one of two approaches: either they focus on the main character as the driver of the plot, or they focus on […]

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Writing scenes

A lot of writing books lately seem to focus on scenes – what they are, how they work, and of course how to write great ones. Most of the books I’ve read urge writers to start by deciding on the point of the scene, or the characters’ […]

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Originality, Fanfiction, and a Few Other Things

Originality is something that is prized in modern-day fiction, at the very same time it is proclaimed to be impossible. You can find innumerable web pages and writing books that tell you solemnly that “there is nothing new under the sun,” that “there are no more original […]

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