Six impossible things


What I Didn’t Expect To Get For Free

Different writers get different things “for free” – that is, different techniques and skills come naturally to different writers. I learned this early on, but it took years before I realized that I needed to apply that knowledge to more than my own first draft, and years […]

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What do you do with subplots?

If subplots are “a secondary sequence of action,” what’s the point of having them? Isn’t the primary sequence of action enough? There are quite a lot of points, it turns out, depending on the sort of story one is writing and where one wants it to go. […]

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What’s a subplot?

The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms defines a subplot as “a secondary sequence of actions in a dramatic or narrative work,” which is true enough, but not always much help when you’re having difficulty figuring out which parts of your manuscript are subplots and which aren’t. […]

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Proliferating viewpoints

Having lots of viewpoint characters is usually one major reason for a proliferation of subplots. Each viewpoint character is the protagonist of his/her own story, and that story inevitably has its own subplots. So if you normally find that your stories have two subplots, and your novel […]

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Proliferating subplots

Kin asked: Any thoughts on how to manage a proliferation of sub-plots and POV’s? Lots. Which is why I’m making this a post rather than a quick answer to a comment. The first thing you need to look at is why you have all those viewpoint characters […]

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Storyboarding for novelists

Storyboarding is a structure analysis technique that comes out of the film industry, where it’s been used since the very early days to give writers, directors, and producers a sort of visual outline of a film. A true storyboard is a series of drawings, each of which […]

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Magic Worldbuilding

Last week, I got a series of questions from a student who was working on a worldbuilding project. Several of them caught my attention, most notably the one that asked when it is “appropriate” to use magic that has no strict set of rules in a story, […]

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Characters and change

One of the current fundamental tenets for writing fiction is that in order to be a “good book,” the central character in the story has to change as a result of the events in it. If one attempts to question this “requirement,” one is informed that if […]

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Writing software 2016

This is the last post on software stuff, I promise. I’d planned to start by saying that all anyone really needs is a basic text editor, but then I ran across Writemonkey. It is the most basic text editor I’ve seen since 1982 – the only thing […]

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Writing software: Things to consider, Part 2

Continuing on: 3) Organizing notes and research This category overlaps a bit with both the analysis and development categories, because a lot of the notes you want to organize are things that could/should come up during the development stage, and a lot of the aspects you might […]

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