fuckyourwritinghabits:

Horrible fact of writing: you are going to know a lot more about your character than will ever be put on the page. This also drags writers down, because often they’re so exciting about their characters, that they want to share everything. Instead of conveying that excitement, it drags the story down, and loses the reader.

So, backstory. Backstory is essential. It is also a pain, figuring out what goes where. Your character worksheets are going to have some backstory, maybe a lot, so for this part, we’re going to focus on the essentials.

  • Pick out the major events. That test your character failed in third grade is not going to impact them the same way their parents’ divorce did (unless the character connects the two). Pick out the really important things, whether or not your characters are aware of them. What caused a great internal change? What external issue brings them to the plot now? These things are going to be what your reader will need to know.
  • Backstory Timeline: Your character didn’t spring to life the second their story starts on the page. Take that starting point and move backward: how did they get there? When did they move to _____ town, what did they get their degree in? This is going to be more mundane details than your major points, but they’re important too. You might stumble upon a great location, or a new plot idea you didn’t think of before. This can also be an ongoing list; you don’t have to go it in one go.

Both your main characters, supporting characters, and antagonists (we’ll get to them later) need backstory. Like I mentioned earlier, you don’t need it all right now, and some of it will probably change while plotting, but now’s a good time to get started.

Also See:


Source: fixyourwritinghabits

mooderino:

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The Cinderella story is an archetypal narrative structure that can be found in many books, both by established and aspiring writers.

A put upon person, treated unfairly and cruelly through no fault of their own, overcomes their unjust circumstances to win great rewards and happiness.

It’s an appealing format because it creates a sympathetic underdog who triumphs against adversity; the kind of struggle we’d all like to think we could battle and win.

But there are two problems with the Cinderella story that make her an awkward fit for the modern world.

 Read More



Source: writingbox

writing-questions-answered:


Our Quick Guide on writing plots that grip the reader


In these days of the 3-for-2 tables and Tesco Book Clubs, fiction has taken a step forwards into the past.

These days, plot matters. No fiction will be taken on by agents - no matter how brilliantly written, how edgily contemporary, how weighty in subject matter - unless it has a strong story line. We’ve seen stunning work rejected for this reason. This is scary for authors. Get your plot wrong, and your book has failed before you’ve even started. You simply MUST get this aspect of your novel right. Here’s how.

See also our More About Plotting guide … and do watch out for the video below.

Read More →


Source: writersworkshop.co.uk

amandaonwriting:

The storytelling elements:
1. The Contract

In the very beginning, you have to make a promise. Will this be violent? Scary? Fun? Tense? Dramatic?

2. The Pull

Keep it light in the beginning. You don’t want to scare people away by being too dense — you must trust The Contract.

3. The Incident

This is the event that sets everything in motion. Should occur early and keep the story together.

4. The Reveal

Just before the Point Of No Return, the main character learns what the story is really about.

5. Point Of No Return

The forces of good are faced with an impossible decision that concerns fear, safety, love, hate, revenge or despair.

6. Mini-Climax

Sorry, but you must allow the the forces of evil to have an epic win.

7. All-Is-Lost Moment

The moment where all is lost. You must portray the deepest despair for the forces of good.

8. News Of Hope

This is the possibility for one of the side characters to shine. A light that shines into the total darkness of the moment.

9. Climax

The shit hits the fan and the good puts everything at stake and overcomes — despite impossible odds.

10. The End

Public displays of relief and happiness, love and forgiveness. It’s great! We also learn that the hero has evolved.

Article from Doktor Spinn written by Jerry Silfwer aka Doktor Spinn

amandaonwriting:

The storytelling elements:

1. The Contract

In the very beginning, you have to make a promise. Will this be violent? Scary? Fun? Tense? Dramatic?

2. The Pull

Keep it light in the beginning. You don’t want to scare people away by being too dense — you must trust The Contract.

3. The Incident

This is the event that sets everything in motion. Should occur early and keep the story together.

4. The Reveal

Just before the Point Of No Return, the main character learns what the story is really about.

5. Point Of No Return

The forces of good are faced with an impossible decision that concerns fear, safety, love, hate, revenge or despair.

6. Mini-Climax

Sorry, but you must allow the the forces of evil to have an epic win.

7. All-Is-Lost Moment

The moment where all is lost. You must portray the deepest despair for the forces of good.

8. News Of Hope

This is the possibility for one of the side characters to shine. A light that shines into the total darkness of the moment.

9. Climax

The shit hits the fan and the good puts everything at stake and overcomes — despite impossible odds.

10. The End

Public displays of relief and happiness, love and forgiveness. It’s great! We also learn that the hero has evolved.

Article from Doktor Spinn written by Jerry Silfwer aka Doktor Spinn


Source: amandaonwriting

bookgeekconfessions:

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I’ve written about the importance of a novel’s beginning previously on this blog, and in truth, that importance can’t be overstated. Your novel’s opening words have to draw the reader into the book, give him or her something to care about and something to intrigue, something to entice, a reason to keep holding onto the book and turning the pages.

Unfortunately, too many writers think the only way to draw a reader in is with non-stop action. The concept of “hitting the ground running” has been drummed into writers so often it’s not unusual to find a murder mystery beginning with a death in the first sentence. This isn’t always the best way to draw your reader into the fictional world you’ve created. In fact, “starting with a bang,” so to speak, can actually be disorienting at times.

If you watch potential book buyers in a bookshop, they pick up a book, leaf through it, maybe read a paragraph here and there as well as the cover blurb, then either put the book back on the shelf or buy it. No potential reader expects to fully grasp your story situation with one quick leaf through, and they aren’t searching for the inciting incident. Heck, they probably don’t even know what the words, “inciting incident” mean, though you, as the writer, need to.

What a potential book buyer is looking for is the style of the book, the language, that unique something that makes your writing yours and yours alone. That’s what draws a reader in. Flat, vague writing, no matter how many fireworks go off in its midst, causes a reader to put a book back on the shelf. Language that speaks to the reader, along with vivid imagery, pulls him into the story and won’t let him put the book down.

Margaret Atwood, a master writer, used description to begin my favorite of all her novels, the bestselling Alias Grace. This is how that book begins:

Out of the gravel there are peonies growing. They come up through the loose grey pebbles, their buds testing the air like snails’ eyes, then swelling and opening, huge dark-red flowers all shining and glossy like satin. Then they burst and fall to the ground.

In the one instant before they come apart they are like the peonies in the front garden at Mrs. Kinnear’s that first day, only those were white. Nancy was cutting them. She wore a pale dress with pink rosebuds and a triple-flounced skirt, and a straw bonnet that hid her face. She carried a flat basket, to put the flowers in; she bent from the hips like a lady, holding her waist straight. When she heard us and turned to look, she put her hand up to her throat as if startled.

I tuck my head down while I walk, keeping step with the rest, eyes lowered, silently two by two around the yard, inside the square made by the high stone walls. My hands are clasped in front of me; they’re chapped, the knuckles reddened. I can’t remember a time when they were not like that. The toes of my shoes go in and out under the hem of my skirt, blue and white, blue and white, crunching on the pathway. These shoes fit me better than any I’ve ever had before.

It’s 1851. I’ll be twenty-four years old next birthday. I’ve been shut up in here since the age of sixteen. I’m a model prisoner, and give no trouble.


I love this opening, and when I picked up Alias Grace on a table in my local bookstore, it definitely interested me. I wanted to read more of the book. I wanted to read all it, and I did.

This masterful opening provides the reader with a lot of information, and it raises quite a few questions. For example, who is the narrator? Why on earth has she been in prison for nearly eight years now? And at such a young age? She certainly doesn’t seem like the criminal type. She’s obviously very intelligent and observant. She describes the peonies in near-poetic terms.

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mooderino:

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In the first part of this series I discussed the need for a strong purpose behind a character’s goals. In this post I will be talking about competition and rivalry.

There are stories where characters are isolated or are in competition with themselves. These kinds of stories are hard to write and can easily come across as self-important and self-indulgent. Everything’s about him, nobody else counts, he has to do it all by himself.

That’s usually not the intention, but it’s hard not to come over like that if every sentence starts with the same subject.

However, once you bring in a rival to your main character, things not only become more dynamic, they also help the reader see the main character more clearly.

Read More


booksdirect:

"Fiction Writer’s Cheat Sheet."

booksdirect:

"Fiction Writer’s Cheat Sheet."


Source: booksdirect

Anonymous asked: There are quite a few books out now about dystopian governments. Do you personally think, or any of your followers think, a book about a cult would be interesting? The dynamics of a cult are similar but different from a government, so it could be the main form of leadership. It would be a young adult type novel. I’m just curious to see what other people think about the idea or if it would be interesting to anyone else.

Maybe, maybe not.

Plots are vague. It’s very hard to tell whether a story will be interesting based on its plot.

Take Italo Calvino’s story “A King Listens.” The story is about a king sitting on his throne, listening to the sounds of the palace.

That’s it. Not exactly a thriller, I’d say.

But it’s super interesting because of the way it’s told (it’s in the second person, which is fun), and the way the king theorizes about the different sounds around him.

Here’s another example: there are lots of stories about detectives. Some of them are more interesting that others, at least to individual readers. Detectives aren’t automatically interesting, but they can be interesting.

Long story short, your cult story might be interesting. It also might not be interesting. It depends on how you write it.

- O