Six impossible things

Posts Tagged structure

The Lego Theory, Part 4

Before I go on, I would like to remind everybody once again that the vast majority of authors do not consciously and deliberately micro-manage their writing to wring every last bit of strength out of every word’s position, rhythm, etc. Most of the time, we work by […]

Read more

The Lego Theory, Part 3

Every set of Legos has the basic square and rectangular blocks that you build most of your castles and dinosaurs and pirates with, and then a bunch of oddly shaped pieces that you use to make the fancy bits. Last post, I compared the basic Legos to […]

Read more

The Lego Theory, Part 2

Words, being the smallest and most basic building blocks of fiction, have lots of useful and important properties. I’ve already talked about specificity and sound; the next really key thing a writer needs to know about words is that they have different…strength or significance. I define strong […]

Read more

The Lego Theory, Part II

Words, being the smallest and most basic building blocks of fiction, have lots of useful and important properties. I’ve already talked about specificity and sound; the next really key thing a writer needs to know about words is that they have different…strength or significance. I define strong […]

Read more

The Lego Theory, Part 1

Fiction is like Legos. It’s built out of a series of different units, stuck together. Each new level of unit is built out of a clump of previous units. The more units you have, the more complex effects you can achieve by moving them around, putting them […]

Read more

Chapter’s End

Having just talked a bit about beginnings, I’m now going to talk about endings…sort of. Specifically, I’m going to talk about chapter endings, because when you’re writing a novel, you end up having to do quite a lot of those. A good chapter ending, from the point […]

Read more

Whose Turn Is It? (Mailbag #4)

From the mailbag:: I know some people who feel quite strongly about keeping to the main character’s POV except when it’s absolutely necessary to go to someone else, but I’ve also seen that rule (like so many others!)broken successfully. It can be so useful to show someone […]

Read more

Looking Backward II, or Some Tenses and How to Use Them

The second most common way of leading into and out of a flashback sequence is by shifting tenses. Most novels are told in what’s called the “historic present,” meaning that the “now” of the story is told in simple past tense (He slept in the library all afternoon rather than […]

Read more

Looking backward I

There are two important things to know about flashbacks: how to do them, and when to do them. Both things can be trickier to figure out than they look. First, a definition: as far as I’m concerned, flashbacks are a way of conveying some background/backstory information as if it […]

Read more

The escalation problem

The comments on the last post started getting into endings and the escalation of threat, particularly as related to series books, and I discovered I had quite a lot to say on the subject even though I haven’t written a long-running series myself. The first thing is […]

Read more
Page 3 of 41234
Questions regarding foreign rights, film/tv subrights, and other business matters should be directed to Pat’s agent Ginger Clark, Curtis-Brown, Ltd., 10 Astor Place, 3rd Floor New York, NY 10003, gc@cbltd.com

Books

Appearances