Six impossible things

Posts Tagged structure

The structure of the end

Most novels have three parts: beginning, middle, and end. At least, that’s what Aristotle said, and who am I to argue with a guy whose writing advice has been taken seriously by folks for the last 2000+ years? Today I want to talk about the end. First […]

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Today I decided to talk about frame stories. “Frame story” is a bit of a misnomer; it’s actually short for “story with a frame,” and it’s a very specific story structure in which the opening (whether that’s the prologue, Chapter One, or the first scene) and closing […]

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Trying to Improve

One of the things about writing is that if you want to improve, you have to work at it yourself. Nobody is going to make you practice; nobody is going to force you to get better. Even taking writing classes is a choice – I’ve known people […]

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Off Track

Before we get to the post, I feel obliged to mention that we’re doing some more blog maintenance tomorrow – might as well get it over with as soon/much as possible – so there may possibly be another short outage. We’re expecting this bit to go smoothly, […]

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When is it over?

When is the story over? Really over, I mean, as in “this is the last paragraph, and what comes next is ‘The End’ at the bottom of the page.” This is usually some way after the big climax in which the central story problem is solved (they […]

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One at a time or everything at once

There are two basic approaches to combining or developing ideas and story:  in-depth development, and the kitchen sink approach. These are opposite ends of a continuum, of course; there are very few writers who work strictly one way or the other. Still, it’s useful to think about […]

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The Big Finish

Nearly every piece of fiction has one main character and one central problem. Even when the story is told from multiple viewpoints with an ensemble cast, each of whom has a different important plotline, there is almost always one plot problem that is the problem that the […]

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The Lego Theory, Part 7

OK, you twisted my arm. But I’m stopping at scenes. Really. As I said, paragraphs are where this analogy switches from looking at building blocks to looking at what you are building out of the building blocks. Consequently, the main properties of paragraphs aren’t so much about […]

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The Lego Theory, Part 6

A quick recap, for those who are getting a little lost: Fiction (and the English language generally) is built up by combining smaller units into larger and larger ones according to various rules and principles, the same way you build large, intricate Lego models by putting a […]

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The Lego Theory Part 5

Clauses are the next step up from phrases, and they are intimately connected with sentences. They come in two varieties, independent and dependent, and the first sort is a sentence, or could be if you punctuated it differently. “He ran, but she escaped.” is a single sentence […]

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