Surprise is one of the vital elements in story making precisely because it makes things unpredictable. It makes hope, fear, worry, and curiosity possible.
Archive for the ‘The Craft of Writing’ Category
When I’m teaching, I do bring some books to class in order to point students toward them. I don’t think books are a substitute for the act of writing, but they can help focus and direct your practice and give you a list of things to work on that might not otherwise occur to you. Here’s a list of my top ten for speculative fiction writers focusing on their craft. I was sad to find some not available on the Kindle, but where possible, I’ve pointed to the e-version.
It’s one thing to say that something bad is going to happen. It’s quite another to know that kidnappers are going to cut your finger off with a pair of wire cutters. It’s one thing to have someone say something good will happen (Chinese fortune cookie) and quite another to say your uncle just died and left you a million dollars, but you have to fight your three cousins for it.
With this post we begin looking at the key conditions that build reader suspense. Stories are made up of four main ingredients: character, setting, problem, and plot. All of these are important, but problem is the engine that makes suspense go.
Sometimes it feels like there are a thousand things to remember when writing a story. New writers who make lists of these things soon begin to drown in them. But I’ve come to realize that many of these “rules” don’t matter.
Key PROBLEM conditions for reader suspense o Part 1 – It’s all about the reader o Part 2 – The 3 Problem Types o Part 3 – It’s gotta be difficult o Part 4 – Uncertainty Key CHARACTER conditions for reader suspense o Part 5 – Character troubles o Part 6 – Character deservingness o […]
Since its founding in 1996, Odyssey has become one of the most respected workshops in the science fiction, fantasy, and horror writing community. Odyssey is for developing writers whose work is approaching publication quality and for published writers who want to improve their work. The six-week workshop combines advanced lectures, exercises, extensive writing, and in-depth feedback on student manuscripts.
Sometimes we forget to breathe when it comes to our creativity. By which I mean we are so busy creating and interacting with the world that we forget to pause, to be silent, to be alone. The imagination, the spark of all creativity, is a renewable resource, but it is not an inexhaustible resource.
Gruber was living on dreams and precious else during those lean, dangerous years. He played hide and seek with his landlord until he could scrounge his rent, reduced his food budget by eating “automat” soup (a meal made of the free ketchup and crackers available at the automat, stirred in a bowl, with the hot water for tea to taste), and dropping off manuscripts on foot to avoid any postal costs.
Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware
How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice.
This old saw applies to writers as much as to musicians. In today’s guest blog post, author and writing teacher Barbara Baig explores the impo…