Every story has backstory--the stuff that happened before the characters were born, or met, before the problem of the story was enough of a problem for you to sit down and write about it. Even ancient stories about creation have backstory about the gods and what they were up to before they decided to make … Continue reading The Most Important Rule of Backstory
Villains are a part of a great deal of fiction. Not every story has to have one, of course, but the action/adventure, science fiction, and fantasy genres tend to rely on the presence of evil-minded characters pretty heavily (and even romance can have a trouble-making rival). But what are our options when it comes to … Continue reading What To Do With Villains? #atozchallenge #amwriting #fantasy
Readers like to know what they're getting into before they start a book. They want to know if it's a series, what genre, and what they can expect, overall, before they start reading (unless they trust you and your stories already, in which case they might just want to read without any foreknowledge). This is … Continue reading Synopsis: How Summing Up Your Story Makes All The Difference #amwriting #atozchallenge
I think the biggest thing that makes readers keep reading is.... Mystery. No, it doesn't mean you have to write a "who-done-it," but the best novels start out with a "Big Question" that the rest of the novel must answer. Here are a few examples: Pride and Prejudice: Can Elizabeth Bennet and her sisters make "good … Continue reading Your Novel’s “Big Question”
Yesterday, I posted about how Star Wars was originally, unapologetically, written and edited to please its author, George Lucas. Which raised an interesting question. Who are authors supposed to write for? Are we to please ourselves or write for our audience, taking other people's advice into consideration? One of my favorite examples of "writing for … Continue reading Who Do You Write For?
With the release of Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens, I heard a most unusual complaint: that it was written too much for the fans. Many who saw it thought it was a great movie, but there were some who felt it was too nostalgic. With so many nods to the original trilogy, they felt … Continue reading Is Star Wars Written for the Fans?
Most Star Wars fans know the movies aren’t perfect—especially when the prequels are taken into consideration. The special effects were somewhat problematic (seeing how much the industry changed between the original trilogy and now), and efforts to turn the entire series into a cohesive whole just causes uproar among the fans (think of all the … Continue reading Star Wars and Its Writing Problems
We tend to look for high points in our lives, and especially in our stories: things that tell us life is moving forward, going somewhere…and that we can’t go back. Events that tell us things have changed, preferably for better—and these events are climaxes. I think writers tend to obsess over climaxes: are we building … Continue reading Isn’t It Climactic? The Structure of Stories