Tag Archives: fiction

WATER UNDER THE BRIDGE

HOW TO KEEP YOUR CHARACTERS BELIEVABLE

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Risk taking is what defines good writing. It’s the unexpected that makes the reader’s bottom lip tremble in anticipant trepidation, waiting for your story to unfold. These risks are tough, because we want to maintain a story that’s consistent, and taking those risks teeters on the edge of being unbelievable.

Continuing from yesterday, let’s define something a little more clearly. Even though we are jumping off a bridge, make sure that there is water underneath. We aren’t plummeting to our literary deaths; we simply want to make the thrill ride is exhilarating. Continue reading

GO JUMP OFF A BRIDGE

HOW TO TAKE RISKS

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Writing is the realm to take risks, and by that I don’t mean being risqué. Risk taking is what will separate the writers from the authors, the hobbyists from the novelists.

But what does risk taking look like on paper? I mean, the bounds of writing are endless, so how do you know if you are really taking a risk?

The first step in taking a risk is understanding when there’s a risk to be taken. Continue reading

TRICKSTER

HOW TO LEGITIMATELY TRICK YOUR READER

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Tricking the reader is a bad game to play. For instance, having a character pretend not to know that someone is the killer, only to find out that she knew who did it the entire time is wrong. That’s not the kind of trickery that I’m referring to.

What I’m describing is keeping something hidden from the reader, while maintaining your legitimate narrative perspective. Here’s an example. Continue reading

FLASHER

HOW TO ADD A FLASH OF LIGHTNING TO YOUR FANTASY

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With fantasy, one thing that readers expect is to have the world unfold as the character experiences it. Think of it like a Fruit-Rollup that you eat one piece at a time, peeling it away from the wax paper until it’s all gone. Can’t you just taste how delicious that is?

That’s one of fantasy’s strong points. Being able to reveal your world in a flavorful way keeps the reader as enchanted as the characters. But how can this be done? Continue reading

FANTASTIC FIVE

HOW TO OBEY THE 5 RULES OF HIGH FANTASY

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There are essential elements that make high fantasy novels come alive, but the characters are the banners. Without having characters that people care about, stories will flop. That said, if the characters are admirable, then the story can sag, and people may still continue to read on.

Fantasy novels must have certain elements if they are to fit into the mold of the mainstream fantasy.

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FANTASTIC FANTASY

HOW TO WRITE BELIEVABLE FANTASY

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One of the dumbest ideas for a novel would have to come from The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. Think about it. Some kids go to a house where they’re not wanted and they find this wardrobe. After finding it, they realize that this glorious piece of bedroom furniture is enchanted. Not only that, but the wardrobe, if opened by the right people, has an entirely different world hidden within it called Narnia. That’s ridiculous!

But this is where it gets crazy. Continue reading

ASK YOURSELF

HOW TO ASK YOURSELF THE RIGHT QUESTIONS FOR YOUR SCENE

Sarai

The beeping wouldn’t stop. Every few seconds the IV reminded us that we were in a hospital. I sat on the chair with my head hanging between my legs, staring at the tiled floor, silently demanding the nurses to come. Next to me, in the bed, lay my wife. She wasn’t saying much, and neither was I. We’d been through this before. But what about this time was going to so be different from the last?

I have a confession to make. I have not written a blog in two weeks. I’ve just had a few of them in the queue, and I’ve responded to messages. But, my wife and I welcomed the arrival of our second daughter on June 26th. Her name is Sarai Rachel. Continue reading

CURSE YOU BACK-STORY

HOW TO KEEP FROM WRITING TOO MUCH BACK-STORY

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Too much back-story will kill you. The common feeling whenever we’re writing is that we have to explain our world. We have to describe what things look like, and how things came to be, and what powers our people have.

I ran into this trouble with my fantasy trilogy. When I looked at it again, I noticed that I had a prose-styled dossier. It just wasn’t working. What I realized is that my explanation of the world was getting in the way of the story.

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OPEN PAGE, INSERT CHARACTER

HOW TO STEAL A CHARACTER

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We talked about plot stealing in the last post. Now, I’m going to increase my thievery. We can even steal characters. Wow, that’s hard to hear. For some reason there’s the writers’ hubris that we must birth everything from our literary wombs.

That’s insane. How many times in an interview has the question been asked: “So where did you get your inspiration?” I’ve heard all types of artists respond by saying, “I modeled this after that.”

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HIGHWAY ROBBERY

HOW TO RECREATE THE CREATED

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James Cameron directed Avatar. We know that. Everyone in the world knows that. That’s my one dramatic statement for the day. But a lot of people know it. What did he do right to make so many people watch it?

A lot of things. But he upped the cinematography by eons! That’s my second dramatic statement. They’re adding up. I know. Now I’ve heard people bash Avatar by saying, “Wait! Isn’t this just the plot of Pocahontas?” And, of course, there are a lot of other questions that are similar to the one described. Continue reading