Six impossible things

Posts Tagged fundamentals

Questions, questions

One of the ways writers make progress in their work is by answering questions: Who murdered the butler? Why did the rabbit stew explode? Where did George get those kneebles, and what is he planning to do with them? But in order to answer a question, one […]

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Rules again

In the past two months, at least five different people have said something to me along the lines of “My teacher said/some professional writer said/my crit group says/I have observed [insert writing technique] is the rule for [insert writing problem or situation]. So is that a rule?” […]

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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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Actions speak loudly

The term “action,” like many terms in writing, covers a lot of ground. Some is obvious: a chase scene is action; so is a boxing match, a brawl, a battle, a gunfight. The scene where one guy is clinging to the railroad trestle and the other guy […]

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Little things

The subject matter of a story is seldom what really makes it interesting to a reader. A great idea that can be summed up in one tantalizing sentence may attract attention, but what keeps the reader going past the first page is a combination of the subject […]

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Fixing Chapter One, part one

I recently read a writing-advice column that argued that first chapters were always and necessarily boring. The column-writer never did explain why, if that were true, anyone would ever read the first chapter, or stick with a book long enough for it to get interesting, but he […]

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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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Where it happens

Setting is one of the things that seems to get short shrift in a lot of beginner stories/novels. Even writers who are devotees of the Tolkien School of Background and Appendices tend to focus on the history and politics part of worldbuilding, and occasionally on various aspects […]

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Five W’s and…

Back in high school, I took one semester of journalism. As is pretty typical for a beginning journalism class, it concentrated on drilling into us the importance of the classic “five W’s and one H” – the Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How – that we were […]

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What you like

When all your friends are bookaholics, one of the things that inevitably happens is that they recommend books to you and to their other friends, frequently in glowing terms. Quite often, other members of your social group will read those books before you do, will also love […]

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