Six impossible things

Posts Tagged narrative summary


A lot of my friends have trouble writing action scenes. Not on the sentence-by-sentence level – they know all the tricks and tips – but on a more general level. They know that their first-person viewpoint character is only going to have a close-up, confused picture of […]

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Show vs. Tell

“Show, don’t tell” is one of the two most misunderstood and misapplied pieces of writing advice that are commonly given to new writers (the other being “write what you know,” but that’s a different post.) It’s most commonly trotted out in relation to characterization, where “show” generally […]

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Reading like a writer

Back in the day, one of the pieces of advice I got that drove me crazy was “you have to learn to read like a writer.” I didn’t know what that meant, and no one ever really explained it to me. Evidently it was one of those […]

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Making an impact

A novel is not a movie; writing a scene is not the same as filming one. It is amazingly easy to forget this, when we are constantly bombarded with visuals in our everyday lives, from movies and TV, to YouTube and those animated ads that are all […]

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Beats Now and Then

“Beat” is actually an acting term. In a movie or play, it describes a brief interruption or pause in the action or dialog. The result of putting a beat in can change the emphasis on a line of dialog or the meaning of an action, and do […]

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Narrative Summary

Narrative summary is possibly the most flexible of the various ways of presenting a story. Narrative summary doesn’t necessarily tie the author down to chronological order, the way dialog and dramatization do, nor does it require a focus on one particular aspect of the story, as description […]

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Getting From Here to There

Transitions are a pain. It is very likely that I feel this way because I hate doing transitions, and the ones I write nearly always feel clunky to me. Some of the clunkiness is probably just my dislike of the process of producing one attaching itself to the […]

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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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Who says?

When a writer sets out to tell a story, she has a lot of choices to make, and every time she makes one, it influences what options are still available for the other choices. In some cases, one decision can completely eliminate all other options. Take the […]

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