Posts belonging to Category Concepts

Degrees of Backstory Characters

Into every character’s backstory, a few characters who aren’t the backstory’s central character must fall. They don’t live in a vacuum, after all. (And if they do, they’re probably pretty boring characters, and lack verisimilitude. Even hermits usually had someone who raised them.) That doesn’t mean they’re all created the same, though.
Overall, backstory characters are [...]

Reprise: How Not To Misplace People in a Scene

Originally posted August 12, 2010.
One of the biggest problems with having four or five people operating in the same scene, regardless of its type, is the risk that the better-imaged ones will take over and the less-definite ones will get lost in the shuffle. A couple days ago, UZ asked how to [...]

Reprise: Comparing Conversation and Combat

Originally posted on August 11, 2010.
What’s the difference between conversation and combat?
I found myself asking that of one of my friends, while thinking about UZ’s recent question on keeping all participants in a conversation involving more than four characters at once. I have difficulty with that sort of thing too, so I didn’t [...]

Map, Elaborate, Question: From Characters to World (and Plot!)

Yesterday, I talked about building a world around characters, rather than building enough of a world to mold characters into and moving outward from there. I’ve been toying with this recently, and I’ve found a pretty good sequence for trying to grow outward from one or two characters to a plot and a world.
I start [...]

Guest Post: In Conclusion

This is the last of the UZ guest posts; regular posts will resume Friday night/Saturday morning.
Even as I am dishonest in fiction, so I am dishonest in most forms of composition; most readers will have noticed several narrative techniques that I’ve used in these posts. Not least of these techniques is the [...]

Guest Post: This Part of the Scene is Left Implied Because the Author’s Hands were Busy

UZ’s guest posts continue.
Nothing exposes the comforting lies of fiction more than analysis by the reader, which is why we avoid this as much as we can. One avenue to failure in this respect is to become so absorbed in an idea that you become uncritical of your own work, and [...]

Guest Post: Broken Bridges

UZ’s guest posts continue!

There is a form of dishonesty that has gained popularity in recent writing, which for lack of a better term I will call the Broken Bridge technique. This is where the story presents a question that feels compelling, puts off addressing it and ultimately fails to answer it, but [...]

Guest Post: Dressing and Skirting

There are things that we shouldn’t generally talk about in fiction. It’s not that we are literally unable, or that we mustn’t because of some moral obligation. Rather, the reason is that we’re trying to get our point across – the lunar disco and monster boyfriend part – and if we let these other things [...]

Guest Post: Wronging the Write

UZ’s guest posts continue.

My background in fantasy and the weird means that I often write about upsetting things; I’ve discussed some of these in the past with our illustrious host. When we write about wondrous things – that’s really our mandate in fantasy – often we write about scale. The fifty [...]

Guest Post: Why Lie?

A continuation of UZ’s series of guest posts, begun yesterday.
Most writers who believe in the natural process will ask – why lie? If writing is supposed to be communication, shouldn’t we communicate what we actually feel is right? My response, inadequate as it may seem, is that this isn’t the only [...]