Category Archives: Story structure

Concerns and techniques for developing plots

Buying into a Binary

Writing which shows is almost always touted as superior to writing that tells. Examples of this are filled with intriguing dialog, exciting actions accompanied by descriptive detail filled with aromas, colors, and noises. On the other hand, telling explains who … Continue reading

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The Lead-footed Writer

In movies when an event is crucial to survival (such as disarming a bomb) the clock keeps ticking away on until the last minute as the hero tries to figure out which wire to cut. He wipes the sweat off … Continue reading

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Star Words

Creating a good plot is one of the most difficult parts of writing. A perfectly plotted story is going to be snatched up by readers, but so far we seem to have only produced one of these plots that most … Continue reading

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Who’s the real villain?

As a legend Robin Hood represents the kind of principled nonconformist on which many heroes are based. We love to read about people who confront government wrong-doing even in a criminal manner as he did. But, if a similar character … Continue reading

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The sports hero’s journey

When advised to base stories on the hero’s journey, I realized that the “monomyth model” constructed plots based on a large sampling of Greek mythology. I’ve always had a suspicion that these myths were based on real people. The characters … Continue reading

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Keeping the unknown a mystery

I was engrossed in a mystery that grabbed me from the beginning. Set in the mid nineteenth century it commenced with a spooky chase scene in the fog. The shadow-like suspect disappeared around the corner of a stately brownstone. Then, … Continue reading

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Dueling Detectives

When Edgar Allen Poe published Murders in the Rue Morgue in 1841 the murder mystery was a relatively new genre. He wrote a few more of these increasingly popular detective stories. However, In 1849 he was found wandering injured and … Continue reading

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Getting the Utopian Novel Right

H.G. Wells kept trying to get the utopian novel right. His novel A Modern Utopia has a fictional framework–the protagonist meets a man from a perfect society on a distant island. The book is really a philosophical essay describing the … Continue reading

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Fairy Tale or Dystopia?

The desire to be considered superior and above the crowd exists in most people. We try to ignore the fact that the majority of us are commoners. From time immemorial stories arise with the promise of reaching status by marrying … Continue reading

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Breaking the speed limit

A thrilling fast-paced first chapter that pulls the reader into the story does not have the power to create tension for the entire story. A dramatic, edge-of-the-seat beginning might even decrease the tension. After the first thrill is over, the … Continue reading

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