Six impossible things

Posts Tagged fundamentals

Where Are We?

Every story, short or long, takes place somewhere. Every scene takes place somewhere. And every place has features about it that are unique, whether it is the collection of overly cute fairy-figurines on the mantelpiece in the parlor, the cracked and faded mural across the back wall of the […]

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Say That Again, Would You?

Dialog is one of the bedrock necessities in about 99% of all fiction. Plays and screenplays are almost nothing but dialog, and it’s not unusual to see whole scenes or entire short stories that are told entirely in dialog (sometimes, without even speech tags to let the […]

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Before the Beginning

Probably the most often-asked question writers get is “Where do you get your ideas?” Very few people ever ask “What do you do with your ideas once you have them?” though that seems to me to be the logical next step. It seems a good many people […]

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Being Cinderella is a lot of work

These days, when people talk about a “Cinderella Story,” they mostly mean the rags-to-riches part. Whether it’s a Cinderella sports team that’s just won the championship (and never mind all the sweat and practice and planning that went into it), or J. K. Rowling’s welfare-mom-to-gazillion-copy-bestseller story, what […]

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All together at once

Writing is difficult to talk about. I mean the real thing, the stuff that happens when you are sitting there with your paper and pen or your computer or your stone tablets and chisel and telling a story. We talk about bits and pieces of writing all […]

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So the next thing that happens is…

As I said in our last exciting episode, there are two kinds of novel outlines writers do:  the sort meant to sell a manuscript to a publisher, and the sort meant to help the writer write the book. This post is about the second kind. The first […]

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A Line Around the Outer Edge

“Outline – 1) A line showing the shape or boundary of something; 2) A statement or summary of the chief facts about something; 3) A sketch containing lines but no shading” – Oxford American Dictionary If you want to be a professional novelist, odds are that sooner […]

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So you want to write a book…

It being the new year — and the first year of a new decade — I went poking around the web and noticed a bunch of websites for people’s New Year’s Resolutions. A little further investigation revealed that “write a book” is, in some form or another, […]

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From the mailbag, #2

Where do you start when you write a story? With characters, setting, conflict…? It depends on the story. Sometimes, it starts with characters; sometimes, with setting; sometimes, with plot; sometimes with a situation or an idea; sometimes with a theme… It really doesn’t matter where the story […]

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So, What About All These Rules, Then?

For some reason, I keep running into writers — mostly those who aren’t yet published, but sometimes ones who are — who seem to have gotten the impression that there is some sort of checklist that editors work through before they’ll buy a book. I ran into […]

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