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Archive for the ‘On Structuring Plot’ Category

What do slot machines, video games, and smart plotting have in common? (more…)

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It’s been three years since I started writing The Dead Don’t Cry, three years since I’ve really had to think about my elusive friend, the plot. The last time I wrote about him, I talked about delving into the minds of your characters, letting them do all the legwork. Useful as that can be, the actual art tends to be a bit more gritty, considerably more hands on. We’ve all heard the saying: there’s a story in each and every one of us. What no one told us was just how piecemeal that story actually is. (more…)

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The Elusive Plot

Objectivity doesn’t exist. Something happens, and the moment it’s over the only thing we are left with is our interpretation of what took place. “Facts,” an equally slippery term, are as a result hardly as important as the impact.

The impact.

Few resources are as rich with storytelling potential as our reaction to something that’s happened. Are we offended, pleased, indifferent? Outraged, pacified, left wanting? The gamut of emotions knows no bounds, and herein is the key to creating a great story. Visualize the scenes that come to us before our book is written, images that we replay over and over in our imagination without a clear concept of where they belong, and then populate them with people. People we’re interested in, personalities we want to explore in our writing, individuals who linger over our shoulder, demanding that we tell their story…and then watch and see how they react.

From their reactions, and the inevitable counter reactions, emerges our plot.

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