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
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
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
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
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
And it's not because I forgot it was Friday again. It's about stories. Where the open lies, where the build happens, how it all crashes together to form an ending. I use a couple of methods to get the shape of the story. The first thing I do is a paragraph about the idea. A … Continue reading How to get to the Starting Point
Stories are set somewhere. It's either background or part of the story in how it interacts with those who travel therein, or the character interacts with it in some way. We do not exist in white space. And yet I read stories where it's completely missing. There is nothing to visualise or imagine, no hint … Continue reading What do I see?
When writing essays and non-fiction, there are rules for what a paragraph is, what it does, what is presented for the beginning, middle and end (sounds a bit familiar, I'm thinking). In fiction, however, it seems the same rules don't work. They must not, or I wouldn't be reading (or trying to read) a story … Continue reading Easy-to-Understand Fiction paragraphing
Otherwise known as Setting. It's one of the [many] things I struggle with. The basics of an opening to a story needs to make clear the Who is Where and When, Why they're there (maybe just a hint), and What they're doing. This post is about the Where and When of a story. The place … Continue reading Place and Time
It's that old conundrum of show versus tell. Every story has summary, every story has immediacy, but they don't usually end up in the same paragraph. There are reasons for that. A tell is summarising something, a conclusion made, or an unmoving description (static, unattached to a character). There are several ways to tell. Summarising … Continue reading Summary Tell, or Interactive Show?