Category Archives: Story Structure

NOT EVERYONE IS THE HERO OF THEIR OWN STORY

Sometimes villains know full well they’re being villainous, that they’re hurting people, that what they’re doing is wrong and so must be done in secret, and so live in fear of being caught. When they are caught, they might at … Continue reading

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WHAT I CAN’T TEACH YOU

As an editor I’ve always seen my role as mostly what can be described as “teacher.” That mindset also helped me move into that role more overtly in print, here, and in live and online courses, tutorials, and seminars—a world I need … Continue reading

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PIXAR’S 22 RULES OF STORYTELLING

I bet you’ve seen these before—at least a few of them quoted here over the years. The list is all over the internet. I found it at iO9. But this week I’d like to share all twenty-two of what Pixar storyboard … Continue reading

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WHERE TO BEGIN?

I’ve written before on the subject of a story’s first line, or a novel’s first paragraph, and starting a story—pulp fiction style—with a “bang,” but there’s really no way to overstate both the importance of the first line or first paragraph … Continue reading

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DEFINING MY TERMS

It’s rather funny how a word sometimes sneaks into a family and gets itself adopted. Where does it come from, I wonder? I’d very much like to know. —Jean Cocteau, Intimate Relations (Les parents terribles) In pretty much all of my writing … Continue reading

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A WEIRD STORY MINI-FORMULA

In my look, last April, at the book Science Fiction Handbook, Revised, by L. Sprague de Camp & Catherine de Camp (Owlswick Press, 1975), I wrote: Speaking of the pulp tradition, the de Camps quote Jack Williamson and Edmund Hamilton’s “formula” for a science fiction story … Continue reading

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INTENTION-DRIVEN FICTION

Coincidently, while I’ve been wandering in and out of my wife’s current binge re-watch of The West Wing, I happened upon Aaron Sorkin on The Big Interview with Dan Rather and had to rewind it and write down something he said that I thought … Continue reading

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BLOG POST DCXL: TOO MUCH INFORMATION IN YOUR CHAPTER STARTS 11:19 am PST, TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, 2021 CE SAMMAMISH, WA “Come ye, all Authors and Hear, for Wisdom shall be granted upon thee by the hand of the Not At All Mighty that thou might Hearest.” —Lord Philus Athansusus, the 63rd Lord Viscount of the City of Citiphus in the Duchy of Blackriverwaterberg of the Kingdom of Forevermore, Part XVII, Chapter 24, paragraph 83 of the third volume of the Collected Writings of Lord Philus Athansusus, the 63rd Lord Viscount of the City of Citiphus in the Duchy of Blackriverwaterberg of the Kingdom of Forvermore (standard edition), published in the Year of the Publishing (Summer)

Figured out yet what this post is going to be about? I get it. Chapter titles are fun. So are quotes from “in world” sources. And the exact time and date of the events of this chapter are of vital … Continue reading

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YOU’RE DOING IT COMPLETELY WRONG AND YOU ARE DOOMED TO FAIL!

…or so you might think. There are a lot of ways authors… hell, people in general… find their way to this point, but for aspiring authors, I have a feeling that point is reached after too much exposure to people … Continue reading

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THE BEST OF FANTASY AUTHORS HANDBOOK IS ALMOST HERE!

Releasing in paperback and Kindle formats next week, The Best of Fantasy Authors Handbook, Volume I 2009-2013collects fifty-eight of the first five years’ worth of posts, most (at least a little) expanded, revised, and/or updated for this volume. Here is the … Continue reading

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