Six impossible things

Posts Tagged how-to

The End of the Plot

For a lot of writers, endings are the hardest part of plotting. Either they know where they want the story to end up, but not how to get there, or they know a lot of things about the story, but can’t seem to work out what the […]

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Brainstorming blockages

“The best ideas don’t need to be sought out at all; you just have to train yourself not to swerve out of the way when they jump out in front of you.” – Jon Forss Brainstorming is a mental activity, so it is unsurprising that most of […]

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Developing an idea, before and during

“Developing an idea” is one of those writing phrases that doesn’t have a precise definition. Ideas change and expand and twist throughout the entire writing process. The ways a writer goes about encouraging or discouraging these developments differ, depending on where in the process they are. Pre-writing […]

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Learning to see

One of the experiences that is common to most long-time readers is that of running across a book that they loved when they first read it (usually ten or more years previously), settling down for an enjoyable re-read, and realizing that the book is horrible. It’s not […]

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Making stuff up: plot to characters

The plot-centered story is popularly assumed to be the territory of the action-adventure story. This is because action-adventure pretty much requires a strong plot. But we’re talking about process here, and the way writers make stuff up, and that means that the kind of story is irrelevant. […]

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More In the Middle

Back in July, I talked about Messing Around With Post-Its when I was three chapter into the novel, and came up with a plan for the next two or three chapters. This is an update on how that worked, and why. As a refresher, I had arranged […]

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What They (Don’t) Want

When I was in high school, one of the rituals that came along during senior year was called something like Career Inventory Day, when you spent the morning taking a battery of tests that was supposed to tell you what career you were most likely to be […]

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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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Grammar, Syntax, and other Actual Rules

Spelling, grammar, punctuation, syntax. For a lot of would-be writers, they seem to be love ‘em or leave ‘em – which is to say, many of the folks I talk to have either an absolute slavish devotion to formal grammar, punctuation, or else a firm conviction that […]

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Revenge, rehabilitation, and redemption

Some years back, I read a book on the history of the penal system – one of those random research things that pays off in unexpected ways. In this case, what struck me was the author’s summary of the history and theory behind law and punishment. A […]

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