Six impossible things

Posts Tagged plot

To fix or not to fix

A while back, Kin asked “What reason (other than simple laziness) would necessitate a mere patch, plug, or ignore of plot holes in a story?” “Necessitate” is the key word here, because in writing, necessity is in the eye of the author and/or reader. There are never […]

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Proliferating viewpoints

Having lots of viewpoint characters is usually one major reason for a proliferation of subplots. Each viewpoint character is the protagonist of his/her own story, and that story inevitably has its own subplots. So if you normally find that your stories have two subplots, and your novel […]

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Proliferating subplots

Kin asked: Any thoughts on how to manage a proliferation of sub-plots and POV’s? Lots. Which is why I’m making this a post rather than a quick answer to a comment. The first thing you need to look at is why you have all those viewpoint characters […]

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Storyboarding for novelists

Storyboarding is a structure analysis technique that comes out of the film industry, where it’s been used since the very early days to give writers, directors, and producers a sort of visual outline of a film. A true storyboard is a series of drawings, each of which […]

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Characters and change

One of the current fundamental tenets for writing fiction is that in order to be a “good book,” the central character in the story has to change as a result of the events in it. If one attempts to question this “requirement,” one is informed that if […]

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Basics: Process

The last two posts have talked about the basic parts of a plot. How you get to it – the process of building or fixing a plot – is pretty basic, too. The specifics tend to vary from writer to writer, and often from book to book, […]

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Basics: Plot, part 2

Quick review: Plot, in its most basic version, goes like this: A character (or characters) have a problem Where something important is at stake That the character(s) care deeply about. They try to solve the problem, and Eventually succeed or fail. I went through the first three […]

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Basics: Plot, part 1

By popular demand, I’m starting the “basics” posts with plot. Plot, in its most basic version, goes like this: A character (or characters) have a problem Where something important is at stake That the character(s) care deeply about. They try to solve the problem, and Eventually succeed […]

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Getting it in

There are three basic ways to get multiple plot points and payoffs into a story: you can do it on purpose in the first draft, you can do it by accident in the first draft, or you can do it in the rewrite. Putting in plot points […]

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Narrative drive and Harry Potter

  Narrative drive is the thing about a story that makes it a compulsive read. It what creates the just-one-more-page/scene/chapter syndrome, the I-stayed-up-til-three-a.m.-to-finish condition, the thing that makes certain series like eating potato chips. And it has absolutely nothing to do with action, and very little to […]

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