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Writing Fiction

Writing Fiction for Dummies

Creating a Story World #

The Story Question #

The basic question that fuels the entire story, which drives its core. A good story question has five traits:

A starting framework for a story question is "Can [lead character] achieve [story goal] in spite of [story obstacle]?

Fleshing Out Characters #

Ways to create their stories:

Avoiding Stereotypes #

Need to balance "average" and "obscure," since most real people are neither. Mix in a few unusual traits that deviate from their "typical" aspects. The more they deviate, the more awareness of this the character needs. This can be emotional responses or simple acknowledgement when it's pointed out.

A Character's Core #

The various character's story goals should oppose each other to create conflict. Remember, each character believes they're the hero of their own story. Each story goal defines a different plot thread.

Showing, Not Telling #

Dialogue #

Action #

Description #

Interior Monologue #

Interior Emotion #

Flashback #

A One-Sentence Summary #

This helps people tell if they want to read the story or not. A good starting point is the story question for the main character.

The Three-Act Structure #

  1. Setup
  2. A sequence of increasingly horrible disasters (usually three)
  3. Conclusion

Popular framework is first disaster is out of the protagonist's control, and the others are due to them trying to fix the first disaster.

Five-sentence summary: #

  1. Introduce the lead characters and the story world
  2. The beginning and the first disaster, which forces the decision framing the story question
  3. The first part of Act 2, leading up to the second disaster
  4. Second part of Act 2, leading up to the third disaster. Forces the decision to pursue the final story question
  5. How the story ends, with the final confrontation and needed wrap-ups

Scenes #

Each scene is a mini story. At least one character must undergo at least one kind of change

Two types of scenes #

Scene Goals and Decisions #