Six impossible things

Posts Tagged how-to

Lights, camera…Part II

So how do you build an action scene? There are a lot of things to consider. Some of them will be dictated by decisions the writer has made earlier in the story, and the first and most important of these is viewpoint, which frequently implies level. Action can […]

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Lights, camera…what?

Action scenes are the bread-and-butter of whole genres of fiction. As such, they’re pretty important, and I was rather stunned to realize that I’ve said very little about writing them. I was even more stunned when I went to the bookcase that’s full of how-to-write books – […]

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On critiquing

Before you start critiquing someone else’s work, you are best off asking a few questions. Not questions about the story – usually, one of the things the writer is looking for is a fresh eye, a virgin reader, someone who has no idea what the story is about […]

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The care and feeding of first readers

I promised a while back that I’d post on training first-readers (or beta readers, or critiquers, or whatever you personally call them). I already talked about the difficulty of finding good crit, so I’ll try not to repeat too much of that. Working with first-readers starts with […]

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Information and how to dump it

Infodumps – those long passages of narrative summary that provide a huge wodge of background or plot development or characterization – have an undeservedly bad reputation among would-be writers. The allergy to infodumps is a bit of stylistic advice which is largely peddled to beginning writers, but […]

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Thinking it through

I seem to have acquired a reputation as some sort of worldbuilding maven, probably based on the Fantasy Worldbuilding Questions I came up with as a personal crutch during my middle career. I don’t actually think the reputation is deserved – really, it should belong to someone […]

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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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Making soup

It’s been a little over a year since my mother died, and one of the things I inherited from her was her collection of cookbooks. It’s quite a collection, too. When Mom ran out of space on the kitchen cookbook shelf, she just started putting them elsewhere. I’ve taken three […]

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Getting Stuck

I’ve been getting quite a few questions in the mailbag recently about writer’s block, and invariably they end with the anguished plea, “How do you know what happens next?” Which is a lot of the problem right there, in my opinion. Because “What happens next?” and “What […]

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