Category Archives: Story structure

Concerns and techniques for developing plots

Does being well-read help you write?

Despite the flood of self-published books, there are still agents searching the field of writers attempting to discover the next best-selling author. I read a long list of short blurbs written by these agents describing what they required of those … Continue reading

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Playing the writing game

The debate continues between those who have a flash of inspiration that propels them to write and keep writing and those who think about their ideas and outline before they start. For those who prefer the less planned routine, the … Continue reading

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Nonlinear, when does it work?

At one point when watching a Benedict Cumberbatch movie, my friend commented that this actor must have the requirement that all of his movies or series be nonlinear. At one moment Cumberbatch would be studiously studying a problem in the … Continue reading

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The dance of suspense

Suspenseful writing is a dance between plausibility (what makes sense to readers), and the unexpected. Not just any unexpected events, such as inheriting a million dollars, but ominous ones, such as discovering that the previous person who inherited that same … Continue reading

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Showing too much

Carefully polishing my piece for a writing critique, I attempted to picture every detail of a tense scene. Two indigenous boys scavenged through a village ravaged by mudslides, only to encounter unscrupulous men searching for labors to conscript. The boys … Continue reading

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Don’t ignore response to a tragedy

Anyone who sees or hears a tragedy cannot remain untouched by it. They can attempt to stifle or ignore it, but there will be subtle signs. When that tragedy strikes a person directly, the signs will be even greater, and … Continue reading

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Please make me think

Science fiction in films was once an outlet to comment on society, often with a critical view, such as Fahrenheit 451 and Silent Running. As recently as ten years ago I was intrigued by the British Science Fiction film, Moon, … Continue reading

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Roman replicas

One type of government that keeps appearing in modern science fiction is a replica of the Roman Empire. From the gladiator-like entertainment  by the Hunger Games series to the takeover of the Galactic Republic senate by Supreme Chancellor Palpatine in … Continue reading

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What is the opposite of steam punk?

World building can be a challenge. Advice from someone well-versed in geology, history, or sociology will help when designing world differing from the one we inhabit. My desire was to create an alternate world in which civilization was advanced as … Continue reading

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Kick starting a story

Many writers believe that most readers will only read a novel that grabs their attention from the first page. A dramatic episode must unfold in the first paragraph. I witnessed a workshop in which writers were coached to do just … Continue reading

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