Category Archives: Story Structure

LOVECRAFT’S FIVE DEFINITE ELEMENTS, PART 1: THE ONE WEIRD THING

Lately I’ve been quoting H.P. Lovecraft’s essay “Notes on Writing Weird Fiction” for added wisdom about atmosphere and inspiration, and though this direct little essay contains some real wisdom, it’s also lacking a bit in depth. One paragraph stands out … Continue reading

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WHAT ARE YOUR “TROPES”?

The word “trope” actually describes a figurative or metaphorical turn of phrase that swaps in a new meaning in place of the literal meaning of a word or phrase. You can get a clearer sense of the original meaning of … Continue reading

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BE OPEN TO INSPIRATION

Harlan Ellison, one of my absolute writing idols, was kind enough to let me borrow a quote from him for The Guide to Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction, an oft-repeated bit of snark in answer to the question “Where do … Continue reading

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THE SNAPPER, THE PUNCH LINE TO END 2016

This is the last Fantasy Author’s Handbook post of 2016, which got me thinking about some of my past year-end wrap ups and New Years resolutions, and so on. I won’t belabor the general crappiness of this past year, when … Continue reading

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NEXT EXERCISE: THE RANDOM PROMPT

Last August I made the promise that I would actually go off and do some of the writing exercises I’ve suggested here and in my online courses. I had a little success with some—wrote a maybe okay rough draft of … Continue reading

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RANDOM PLOTS & WRITING PROMPTS

This morning I ran across the article “Plot Devices: Help for Writing Your Yarn” by Edward J. Wood, which looks at, primarily, three sources for plot ideas: George Polti’s 36 Dramatic Situations, Plotto by William Wallace Cook, and Wycliffe A. … Continue reading

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ALL THE STORY STRUCTURE YOU’LL EVER NEED

I don’t avoid a lot of subjects when it comes to writing fiction, but story structure has always set me cringing a bit. Okay, yes, I teach an online course based on Lester Dent’s pulp fiction “formula,” and I’m (unfortunately) … Continue reading

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