Worldbuilding for Realistic Fiction

I am proud to admit I write in many genres. I've been known to write light-hearted fantasy, speculative/science fiction, lite horror, a little supernatural, period realistic fiction, and contemporary fiction. People seem surprised when I say I use worldbuilding...

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Plot Twists: Expanding Your World

Story structures require control of perception and the element of surprise. Plotting is all about retaining and releasing information to create dramatic and purposeful connections between the elements of the story. Plot twists (here simply defined as revelatory moments that...

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Story Generators: From Traits to Action

Generators are great. Stuck for a character? All you have to do is turn a card or click a button and boom! There’s one complete with useful traits, their fate, flaws, weaknesses, and maybe even a little backstory. You...

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Note Card Plotting: Unwrapped

One of the more recognizable plotting methods out there is Note card Plotting. The idea of physically carrying and rearranging ideas appeals especially well to hands-on or visual writers, though the specifics of the method vary. Note Card Plotting General Method:...

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Micro Conflicts: Moving Scenes Forward

Conflict is an essential element of narrative. Just about anyone will recognize larger conflicts, even the seven basic conflicts, as plot, but some of the best conflict occurs in small scale. Keeping interest can equate to maintaining some kind...

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2 Methods for Writing Powerful Themes

There’s much more to a story than what happens. Theme, for example, can simply be described as what a story means. This post isn’t to describe theme, so for that you can visit an excellent post over at Writers...

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The Ugly Work of Writing

Writing is isolated work, performed within the mind, transferred to paper by simple mechanical means, and then finally shared only after it’s finished. Like any art, the stages of the project are most often hidden, and the artist is...

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Concept Testing: Could this work for a novel?

Imagine hitting a point when your novel falls flat, or your story ends about 50,000 words before it should. This is a nightmare many writers live, especially during those committed times when they’re actually putting in the time to...

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Plotting a Great Ghost Story

Halloween may be over, but ghost stories have a lot more to do with the winter holidays than just the harvest-time festival of sweets. According to Victorian tradition, November and December are just as good for a haunt as Halloween....

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Organic Plot Development

In the spirit of encouraging continued education, today we’re sharing a concept from a current international writing course, offered through the University of Iowa’s online learning program. The course is titled How Writers Write Fiction 2015. This course addresses...

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