Six impossible things

Posts Tagged fundamentals

Character motivation

I’ve been getting a lot of good questions lately, and I really appreciate it. However, even though Gene’s question about editing and meddling came first, I’m going to save it for next week, on the grounds that it’s about the business end, and I’ve been talking a […]

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An Illusion of Reality

Fiction is an illusion. It’s a made-up tale of something that never happened…and it’s the author’s job to get the reader to accept that illusion for the length of the story, however long the story is. This basic unifying principle tends to get lost a lot, because […]

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Dialog in general

…“and what is the use of a book,” thought Alice, “without pictures or conversations?” -Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Dialog occupies an odd place on the list of fundamental fiction-writing skills. It’s a component of nearly all fiction, but it’s not absolutely necessary (Hatchet and My […]

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Lost Gold

One of the things I inherited from my mother was her collection of writing textbooks. Most of them date from the 1940s and 1950s; a few are as recent as the 1970s. It’s fascinating to look at them, especially in light of my own far more recent […]

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Revising

The process of revising effectively tends to vary from writer to writer just as the first-draft writing process varies, and it’s not necessarily connected to the way one writes your first drafts. In fact, often (though not always) the revisions process seems to need to be the […]

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Layering

One of the things that makes writing difficult for a lot of folks is the notion that they have to do everything at once, on the first try. They’re sure their first draft has to look pretty much like an actual story – maybe it needs some […]

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Out of ideas?

So Minicon was last weekend, and in among seeing lots of friends (and managing to miss seeing far too many others) there was the usual crop of questions – what are you going to write next, where do you get your ideas, etc. Including one poor fellow […]

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Misunderstanding grammar

Once again, I have been driven to frothing at the mouth by a would-be writer-and-critiquer’s thick-headedness in regard to both the construction of the English language and the so-called rules he’s trying to apply, and you folks are going to have to put up with the resulting […]

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Decisions, decisions

A while back, I was talking with a young writer who was bogged down in mid-novel. The conversation went something like this (with names and plot points changed to protect the guilty): Writer: “I’m totally stuck. My characters are down in the ravine and I don’t know […]

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When is it over?

When is the story over? Really over, I mean, as in “this is the last paragraph, and what comes next is ‘The End’ at the bottom of the page.” This is usually some way after the big climax in which the central story problem is solved (they […]

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