It’s fine to be a plotter, planner, or pantser, a bit of this and a bit of that, a gardener or an architect. The labels don’t matter, nor does the process. Pros and cons abound for every process, and the problems with one can be a benefit in another, but none are the be-all and … Continue reading Changing the Process to Keep the Progress
Actions and Verbs
A character in a story does things in order to get, do, or become something. Actions require verbs, and these verbs need to both characterise the do-er, and show the action taken to achieve a goal. This is a focus on how verbs characterise the players in the story. What am I talking about? Well, … Continue reading Actions and Verbs
3 Levels of Subtext
The first and most obvious is body language. Bodies and faces speak volumes. It's not easy putting that into a story, though, so the body language needs careful construction to convey the subtext. Next would be the things left unsaid. Sometimes, it's in the thoughts of the POV character, which makes it more accessible to … Continue reading 3 Levels of Subtext
A Beat in A Beat
A beat, a beat, what the bubble is a beat in a story? My imagination, when I first heard this term, was a beating, but no. A beat is a moment in time in a story where discoveries or actions cause forward momentum. Discoveries – things we learn – are changes in knowledge. Decisions – … Continue reading A Beat in A Beat
How to Make the Most of a Beta Reader
They're going to offer feedback, but if they don't know what you want, it may not be as useful as you'd like. Make it easy on them. Give a list of questions at the end, or at the end of chapters/scenes. Some things are going to be specific about the story, but a lot will … Continue reading How to Make the Most of a Beta Reader
Who Writes History?
Another question first: Why are there so many stories with the same cultural background? That's the question that relates to the main question. It may not appear to make sense, but think about it. As an example: The Romans travelled the world, conquering and spreading their stories, adapting the local cultural stories to include Roman … Continue reading Who Writes History?
The difference between the three main blocks of story lumps and bumps (Conflict, Tension, and Suspense) are subtle. Sort of. Conflict is the external, Tension is the internal, but Suspense is anticipation. In effect, Tension and Suspense are related, but more like third cousins than siblings. What does that mean? It means the reader is … Continue reading Suspense
Conflict –> Tension
It's an expectation that a story will be filled with conflict and tension, but what does it mean? What is the difference? How to outline it in a plan? Let's start with the big player in the game: Conflict Conflict is the trouble caused by the things that get in the way of a goal. … Continue reading Conflict –> Tension
FFF — the Answer!
The dilemma of how to use Freeze, Flight, Fight responses with Motivation, Response Units has an answer (yes, it’s also part of cause and effect). There is something that happens onstage, in the now of the story. It’s called an event, a motivation, a cause. Something happens and it can be seen, heard, felt. That’s … Continue reading FFF — the Answer!
What’s in a Name?
For a writer, the answer is simple. Quite a lot. A name means so much more than a label to indicate who's talking. The name part of the writing process takes me longer than the pre-planning. Okay, a bit misleading. I write a few beat sheets that may or may not have characters with names … Continue reading What’s in a Name?