An Unkindness of COMMASAn Unkindness of COMMAS in Writing More Like This
I SUCK at commas big-time. I tend to pull a "Mark Twain"; I sprinkle them in wherever to break up the monotony of the sentence. This article is my attempt to hammer the rules into my brain.
An Unkindness of COMMAS
What the heck are Commas for, anyway?
Besides abusing the sanity of the writer, the comma exists to help readers organize information in a sentence. It makes all the stuff the author is trying to say easier to swallow. Without them, sentence bits and pieces collide into one another causing confusion; rather like a train-wreck, though not nearly as exciting.
Just in case you'd like to know who made up all these comma rules, I got most of them from Strunk & White's "Elements of Style" the grammar handbook used by every publishing house in America, and a few overseas. The rest came from my editors.
To get a good idea of how commas work, let's take a look at what they are supposed to do -- and some major
Advanced Plotting-The PREMISEAdvanced Plotting-The PREMISE in Writing More Like This
Advanced Plotting ~ the PREMISE
Could you tell me more on plotting story points? I can get the big story idea well enough, but I run into a snag deciding the whole causality thing -- A leads to B, leads to C, etc."
-- Mad about Plotting
Ah, so you wanna know how to put all the theories together to make a story, do you? (Gee, you couldn't pick the easy stuff could you?) Okay...
A story's Causes & Effects, the triggers that lead from one event to the next, comes from your Premise.
Just for the record...
A Premise is NOT a Concept!
The Premise is the theoretical / emotional problem that your story is trying to illustrate and answer. It's the glue that holds the whole thing together. It's the Purpose of your story.
A Concept is HOW you intend to illustrate that Premise, it's the story you wrap around it.
Example: The 'Matrix':
Premise: Knowledge vs. Ig
Advanced CHARACTER CreationAdvanced CHARACTER Creation in Writing More Like This
Advanced CHARACTER Creation ~ for Fiction
Hero ~ Villain ~ Ally
There are three essential characters in every story. There may be any number of side characters, but in traditional Adventures, and Romances of every stripe (erotic or not,) the main conflict is usually, if not always, a TRIANGLE of complimentary opposites.
Translation: You could tell the whole story with ONLY these Three Characters; perhaps not with any real detail, but you could still do the entire basic plotline.
I'm sure you're familiar with the names Hero & Villain or Antagonist & Protagonist already. Those are pretty darn standard. However, always there, though seldom named is a Third character, the Ally -- the Companion to the Hero or Villain.
The Invisible Character: the Ally
The Ally's function is to be the Middle-Man, the nay-sayer that presents an opposing view t
GMC - SIMPLIFIEDGMC - SIMPLIFIED in Writing More Like This
"I am I Need I Desire "
Goal, Motivation & Conflict - SIMPLIFIED
Goal, Motivation and Conflict seems to be the BIG MYSTERY of fiction writing. Everyone says that they're essential to good writing and they're right, they are. Absolutely. But this stuff can be a little confusing.
Let's begin at the beginning
-- What are all these things and why do stories need them?
Goal is what your character THINKS they are after.
Motivation is what makes them WANT to go after it.
Conflict is what Gets In Their Way.
-- Internal Conflict being ANGST or Drama.
-- External Conflict being the PLOT or Events.
The Plot (Events) Arc is the stuff that happens to the characters the plotline. There are 5 basic stages in a Plot Arc:
1 - Inciting Event
2 - Challenge
3 - Crisis/Reversal
4 - Ordeal
5 - Confrontation
The Character (Drama) Arc is the complimentary (or contrary) stage of Ang
The Secret to Proper ParagraphingThe Secret to Proper Paragraphing in Writing More Like This
Once you know what your characters and doing and saying, how do you get all that down on Paper without ending up with a huge confusing mess?
Putting the Story on Paper.
Everybody knows that when a new speaker speaks they get a new paragraph, right? In other words, you DON'T put two different people talking in the same paragraph. Okay, yeah, so anyone who has written any kind of fiction learns this pretty darned quick, (usually from their readers.)
What nobody seems to get is that the same goes for a new character's ACTIONS. Seriously, when a new character ACTS they're supposed to get their own paragraph -- even if they don't speak!
In short, you paragraph by change in CHARACTER -- not because they speak, but because they ACT. Ahem... Dialogue is an ACTION. In other words, the reason you don't put two different characters' Dialogue in the same paragraph is BECAUSE you don't mix two characters' Actions. Okay?
"Wait a minute,
The Character ArcThe Character Arc in Writing More Like This
The CHARACTER ARC
PLOT ARC: The events that happen while the characters make other plans.
CHARACTER ARC: The emotional roller-coaster that the character suffers while dealing with the Plot.
To make a story a cohesive whole, every single thing in it must be there for a reason. Every single character, object, location, and event must push toward the ending you have planned even if it doesn't look that way to the casual observer. In short, every scene in the story should either illustrate a characteristic attribute of a main Character or be an Event that makes your ending happen.
What the Character Arc does is map out the Emotional path your characters need to take to grow and change into the heroes and heroines your story needs to achieve your story's ending.
For the record, a Character Arc can be used all by itself as th
Writing ANGSTWriting ANGST in Writing More Like This
One way to add excitement to your story is by adding lots of bad-guys, also known as EXTERNAL Conflict. Another way is by adding INTERNAL Conflict, more commonly known as Angst.
I'm sure most of you have noticed by now that most movie characters, and far too many book characters, are One-Dimensional. They do stuff, but they don't face any personality issues: a hang-up, a fear, paranoia, a moral code, a love interest, a strong dislike Or worse, they do have all these things, but they never really affect the story.
There's a Plot Arc, things happen, but no Character Arc. The things that happen don't affect the characters emotionally.
Where's the ANGST?
Answer these two questions:
1. What is your character's biggest character flaw?
(Think: 7 Deadly Sins.)
Essentials of a Short StoryEssentials of a Short Story in Writing More Like This
Essentials of a Short Story
Quotes raped from a critique of Nathanial Hawthorn's Twice Told Tales by
Edgar Allen Poe - 1837
Edgar Allen Poe, celebrated as one of the finest short fiction writers of all time, was also a literary critic. These are bits of his wisdom on writing short stories, gleaned from one of his critiques.
"The true critic will but demand that that the (story's) design intended be accomplished, to the fullest extent, by the means most advantageously applicable " -- Poe
Poe's Prerequisites -- in a Nutshell:
To deliver fullest satisfaction, a short story should be structured:
1) To be read in one sitting.
2) Using a deliberate number of characters and incidents.
3) With words restrained in style and tone.
4) All done that should be done, with nothing done which should not be.
Poe's Prerequisites -- in DETAIL
A short story should be structured:
1) To be rea
STUCK on a Short Story?STUCK on a Short Story? in Writing More Like This
10 Second Tip:
Stuck on a SHORT Story?
Stuck on what to put in your story?
-- This is the list of things I check off when I create a story:
Do you have a Setting in mind?
- Modern day
Do you have ONE big main event for the story to focus on?
- A battle
- An escape
- A love scene
- An act of revenge
- A sacrifice
- A treasure to claim
- A magic spell
- A transformation
Do you know what you want to SAY with your story?
- Love sucks.
- Friendship is forever.
- No good deed goes unpunished.
- A snake can only ever be a snake.
- Sometimes you have to take chances.
- Magic makes things worse, not better.
Do you know where you want to END your story?
- A wedding?
- A funeral?
- A bloody battlefield?
- An empty street?
- The bottom of an ocean?
Do you have your three central characters ready?
-- Just to make things interesting, any one of t
Story Writing for BEGINNERSStory Writing for BEGINNERS in Writing More Like This
I want to write a story. I have a couple of ideas, but no idea what to do with them, or even how to begin! Help?!
-- Newbie Writer
So when you wanna write a story, where do you begin? With your PASSION!
Write what you KNOW & LOVE
What do you KNOW, really? What do you love to Do, to Study, to Think About, to Talk About...? Whether it's cave-diving, model trains, skate-boarding, sewing, horses, mythology, ghost legends, or particle physics your passion is where you will find your most unique and powerful work.
Make a list of all the things you know well and all the things you've done -- seriously! Mythology, history, any retail jobs you might have had -- anything you might have seen, done, or studied.
Sticking with your passions and your personal experiences also helps you make fewer MISTAKES.
Case in point, someone who has never kissed isn't going to be able to write a kissing scene as well as someone who Has. Worst of all,