Effects to Cause

Start with an event, a cause. This cause will result in an incident, but don’t decide on the incident yet. the cause may be minor; Joe stops to look in the pet store window. the cause may be major; Joe drives his car through a red light. Determine a cause for that cause. Joe lost his transit pass and has to walk Determine a cause for that cause, perhaps bringing […]

To help you edit, reverse your sentence order

Here’s how to make your computer help you find grammar and line editing problems. Awkward phrases, missing words, repeated words in close proximity, and repeated sentence length will be much more obvious and easier to identify to fix. It requires Word, WordPad and Excel. Plus a bit of computer skills, or, just follow the instructions closely and trust my advice.¬† ūüôā # In late drafts we need to focus on […]

Open Your Story at the Start of the Ending

“Begin at the start of the ending” is a writing aphorism. Open your story there and you set yourself up to easily carry through without losing the reader’s attention. # During a Twitter discussion on the use of literary devices, I said that I use flashback because I tend to start near the end and I need flashback to get at the history of the character and situation. One person […]

Differences between reality and fiction

Writing a story is not the same as experiencing reality. For one thing, fiction is more interesting than 99% of most people’s reality. Even creative non-fiction and memoir take reality and reshape it for presentation so it’s not boring, doesn’t include irrelevant moments, and has a coherent story or point. There are some basic differences between good writing and reality, and reasons why those differences exist.   Dialogue Fiction or […]

Goldberg Variations as NaNoWriMo

I am now trying to identify elements of fiction that equate to harmonic progression as well as possibly key and form (matching the series of canons). Number of bars is likely not a big concern as it comes out of the repeated harmonic progression, meaning, retaining the chord progression requires the number and sequence of bars because you cannot extend or shorten one or more chords without destroying the balance […]

Goldberg Variations

Long ago I wrote a paper for a music grad class comparing the two Glenn Gould recordings of the Goldberg Variations, written by J. S Bach.¬†Nowadays I¬†listen to the 1981 release once in a while through a sleep app on my phone. But it wasn’t until last night that I noticed the similarities between the Variations¬†and my fiction writing exercise where I¬†wrote the same scene with the same characters, the […]

Antihero: The Ambiguous Protagonist?

I’ve long been confused by the definition of “antihero”. My daughter uses the term to describe characters in movies but I’m never quite sure what she means. Wikipedia says: An antihero, or antiheroine, is a protagonist in a story who lacks conventional heroic qualities and attributes such as idealism, courage, and morality. Although antiheroes may sometimes do the right thing, it is not always for the right reasons, often acting […]

Writing Review: The Host, by Stephenie Meyer, and thoughts on dialog and action tags

I’ve only read a few chapters into The Host by Stephenie Meyer but I think I’m done. The opening chapters of SF can be a challenge because the reader needs to be acclimated to the world, but an operating room with excited students that seem irrelevant to the rest of the story isn’t the best choice. Following that with a memory from the host whose past the narrator is experiencing […]

Writing Review: You

I haven’t done a review for some time, but I haven’t been sparked to do so until now.¬†You, by Caroline Kepnes has left me wondering. *Spoiler alert: many plot topics covered below.* I think I found the title via a list of novels that have surprise endings. I say “I think” because I’m not sure, and there is no surprise at the end. “You” is a narrative in second person […]

Exercises in Style

I started an exercise similar to¬†Raymond Queneau’s “Exercises de Style” but much simpler, taken from John Gardner’s “The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers“. “Take a simple event: A man gets off a bus, trips, looks around in embarrassment, and sees a woman smiling. (Compare Raymond Queneau, Exercises de Style.) Describe the event, using the same characters and elements of setting, in five completely different ways (changes […]