Category Archives: Story structure

Concerns and techniques for developing plots

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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Nothing New under the Sun

There have been authors for many millennia and the tools that they use have changed—from painting on stones, to drawing on animal skin, to writing with ink on paper, to using block prints and printing presses and we have electronic … Continue reading

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The First Steps of an Endless Journey

At times I become frustrated with aspiring young authors. They may ask questions such as ”I have this cool idea about a boy that can fly; how do I write the story?” Or they beg for even more help. “I … Continue reading

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What limits should side characters have?

Most people are at least vaguely familiar with Anna Karenina if they know anything about Russian literature. Perhaps they have seen one of the movies made from this famous novel. I even discussed this book with a student who had … Continue reading

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Serial Worries

When Orson Scott Card wrote Ender’s Game it was a novelette complete in itself. First, he expanded it into a novel, introducing new characters. Then, he started a series based on the characters in this science fiction Hugo Award winner. … Continue reading

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Want a good tip?

Have you ever chatted with a person and mentioned publishing some work only to be barraged with requests for writing tips? Although we would long to be full of wisdom, providing that kind of information is not easy. Sometimes it … Continue reading

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Plotting against yourself

The plot may not be the most important part of the story. A plot cannot exist without characters. There are novels that meander so that the reader has a hard time unearthing the conflict. But, if this novel has interesting … Continue reading

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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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