|I have amassed an entire collection of awesome articles about story structure here.|
LuckyWe met face down on the pavement, hands zip-tied behind our backs. Not that we were criminals or anything. We’d just both ended up in the wrong place at the right time. We were lucky, I guess.Lucky by illuminara
Welcome BackHe woke up reeling. The bed beneath him trembled ... or was it his exhausted muscles shivering complaint at his newfound consciousness?Welcome Back by illuminara
Two faces blurred together in front of him, leaning in and gradually becoming clear. A young woman with fiery red hair and a face filled with concern said, “Welcome back.”
Not a shred of recognition passed across his face. He stared at her and finally parted his lips just enough to say, “I should be dead.”
“You're stuck with us a while longer,” the slim, dark man said. “Sorry, pal.”
“Don't worry.” The redhead braved a smile. “It will all come back.”
He doubted it, and he never wanted to remember what had put him in so much pain. With more of a growl than a moan, he closed his eyes and tried to stop the shaking in his hands, but he couldn't. His vanished memory had ground him to the core and trampled his not-quite-dead corpse.
“You're lucky to be alive,” his
Thought HoursYou work for a company that pays you to think, and that’s it. Nothing more. They installed a chip in your brain and now you're on salary in exchange for your thoughts. You can do whatever you want, and it's the fantasy gig. Your friends envy you from behind their cubical desks, but of course there's a catch.Thought Hours by illuminara
You don't own any of your thoughts. They belong to the company now, for their profit and gain or simply to archive away. You can do nothing with them, charged only with spawning them into existence.
“Wait!" you might be saying. "If I don't have my thoughts, what do I have? Nothing at all?”
The company owns your thoughts, and so they own you. It's a ten year contract, so you can’t walk away. But you know things now, about the company. They have no transparency, no accountability, no soul. You can’t stay.
What will you do to be free? How will you plan your escape when the company can access your every thought--even your dreams? Will you solicit
Tips for Writing DialogueLet's think about this logically. Writing fiction is about telling a story. Every story revolves around a plot. Every plot is carried out by characters, and characters carry out the plot through action and dialogue.Tips for Writing Dialogue by illuminara
Dialogue comes from characters for the purpose of advancing plot to tell a story. Therefore, dialogue should only exist to serve the purpose of advancing plot and revealing character motivation or history that in turn advances the plot. That's why dialogue exists.
This brings me to my main point. If you take away nothing else from this article, take away this: Only write dialogue that serves the purpose of advancing your plot. If it doesn't, cut it out of your story without hesitation or remorse.
Secondly, conversations in stories should not be anything like conversations in real life. Real life almost never has a plot, and talking almost never reveals motivation or history because there's no plot to life. Therefore, if you're trying to make your dialogue as "true to
Character Creation TipsCharacter Creation Tips by illuminara
Note: I wrote this after reading a similar article in The Writer magazine about a year ago. Hope it's helpful!
Not all characters are created equal. Here are some steps to make yours superior.
Figure out what your character wants, needs, desires. A closer relationship with God? A place to belong? Just to survive? Figure it out. You cant move on to number 2 until you have.
Now that you know what your character most desires, you should be able to figure out what he/she most fears. Doing the wrong thing, being alone, death? They are the polar opposites of your characters desires.
Go back in time to before your story begins and create a detailed backstory for your character. What happened in to past to create in him the desires and fears that he has now? Be specific. Write out individual scenes, or at leas
Character MotivationCharacter Motivation by illuminara
Everyone's heard that characters should have goals, something they want and must strive for, overcoming obstacles and antagonists in order to obtain. Because, well, a story is the record of your character's journey toward achieving a goal.
While all of this is true, I think a lot of writers lose sight of an even more important aspect of character. That is, motivation. Sure, you know what your character wants.
That's the gist of motivation. What is the psychology and reasoning behind your character's goal? If your character is driven to make money, is his motivation greed? To pay off a debt? To support his family?
Motivation is your character's emotional connection with the reader. When the reader comes to understand why your character has set out to achieve his goal, they will understand your character in human terms, relate to him, and become invested in what happens to your character throughout the story.
Without a clear motivation, your character's goals don't mean much. So wha
Motivation for NovelistsMotivating myself to write and keeping that motivation throughout a writing project is one of the biggest challenges I face as a writer. I get the impression a lot of other people struggle with it as well.Motivation for Novelists by illuminara
There are a lot of tools out there such as the Write or Die program and National Novel Writing Month designed to keep you motivated, but they're just gimmicks in my opinion. Writing takes a lot of time and effort, and we as humans need a very compelling reason to exert ourselves in such an extreme manner. A timer or deadline typically isn't good enough.
The only effective long-term motivator is a real, tangible reward. Finishing a novel is a great reward, but the gratification is too long coming to really work as motivation. So what reward system will actually keep you writing and rewriting until you can call your project officially finished?
Well, there's always chocolate. Aside from that, the only compelling reasons to keep writing are that you will literally go crazy if you don't
How to Start and Stay WritingHow to Start and Stay Writing by illuminara
I recently solicited my watchers to ask me writing questions that I would then attempt to answer in a writing guide such as this. This article is my first response, and there will be many more to come.
I've been asked to give advice on ways a writer can begin to put words on a page. The bottom line is as simple as this: sit your butt down and write.
Duh, right? It's the only way I know to actually write.
Sure, sitting your butt in a chair is easy, but getting your fingers to move and stay moving is a challenge. Here are three things that have helped me.
1) Have a goal.
Your goal can be as simple as "describe the person in this picture" or as ambitious as "write 1,000 words of my novel." Having a goal will drive you forward and motivate you to keep writing. Whatever you do, don't move your butt from your chair until you accomplish your goal.
Other practical goals include setting a timer, writing to the end of a chapter or scene, and completing a particular section of an outline or numbe
Elements of StoryElements of Story by illuminara
Updated Mar. 18th 2009
The following is a self-discovered list of elements contained in an excellent story:
An interesting and intriguing main character, an individual with a unique past that has made him who he is at the time of the story. Be sure to explain the important aspects of this backstory where appropriate.
This main character must have a story goal: a mission to accomplish, a mystery to solve, his past to reconcile, a villain to overthrow, a treasure to find, a person to save, etc.
Along with this goal, the character must have an all-consuming desire that drives him to accomplish what he sets out to achieve. Love, revenge, money, justice, purpose, an identity crisis, etc.
Fear. This is the person or thing that has the power to stop him from accomplishing his goal. A threat.
An enemy. If another person, this enemy must be smart, strong, and resourceful with a goal directly opposing that of your main character, and he must have an equally strong desire to ful
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