|I have amassed an entire collection of awesome articles about story structure here.|
How to Create Tension in FictionYou've probably heard about tension and know it's a big deal, maybe even the biggest deal in storytelling, but why? What is tension, and why is it so important to storytelling?How to Create Tension in Fiction by illuminara
What Is Tension?
According to the New Oxford American Dictionary, tension is defined as:
a strained state or condition resulting from forces acting in opposition to each other
Applied to the wonderful world of storytelling, tension is all about one simple question: What will happen next? This uncertainty creates strain or anxiety in your readers, and the only way to relieve it is to keep reading and find out what happens next.
Tension and release is actually a cycle that builds up over the course of a story through what's known as pacing. Check out this awesome video explanation.
Tension is not conflict. Even though you will see the terms used interchange
The Kids Are HomeWe stood around her in a circle as she took her last breath. None of us could think of anything to say, but we all knew we were on our own now. She’d joined the rest of her generation, and it was up to us to finish the mission. To survive.The Kids Are Home by illuminara
We were so close we decided not to jettison her body but lay her to rest in the ground like the old custom we’d only read about. It seemed like a bittersweet way to christen our new home.
Two days later, we could see the cobalt blue glow with our bare eyes. The entry sequence initiated not long after that, and we strapped ourselves in. With our hands clenched in quiet fear, we waited for our ship to performed her final act of service and bring us safely to the ground.
The ground … our ship had only known it once before, and we knew nothing at all. What would it be like standing on dirt, seeing the stars from a fixed point in space? What would dirt feel like between our toes? Or sand or grass or mud or rock? Would they welcome
Story Arc ExplainedStory Arc Explained by illuminara
In every writing community, terms like "plot" and "development" and "arc" are constantly thrown around, and everyone expects everyone else to know what they mean without ever clearly defining them. Sure, vague advice about the importance of character development and story structure are great and all, but how do you actually do it? Aside from style and grammar, what are the mechanics behind a well-told story?
What does a good story look like?
The answer is surprisingly simple. Not easy, but simple. Every good story does one thing well: it asks a question, deliberates it, then answers it. This provides a framework of three acts that create what's called dramatic tension.
Here are some examples of what this looks like:
The Little Mermaid
Act one: Will Ariel become human so she can be with the man she loves?
How to Improve Your Writing StyleHow to Improve Your Writing Style by illuminara
While I’ve written articles about writing style in the past, they were designed mostly to define what style is and didn’t provide much help for improvement. This article contains some practical tips I’ve discovered that will actually help you improve your style and hopefully provide a foundation for why good style matters. I believe good style is important for many reasons, but mostly because I want my readers to feel like the time they spent with my story was worthwhile, pleasant, and maybe even a little enlightening.
“All readers come to fiction as willing accomplices to your lies. Such is the basic goodwill contract made the moment we pick up a work of fiction.” – Steve Almond
“Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.” – Kurt Vonnegut
1) Be clear.
“To be clear is the first duty of a writer; to charm and to please are graces to be acquired later
Writing Style vs. VoiceWriting Style vs. Voice by illuminara
A Writer's Guide to Style vs. Voice
Here on dA, there seems to be a lot of confusion and general mass hysteria when it comes to the subjects of writing style and voice. What are they? What's the difference? Can you write one without the other? How important are they, anyhow? Do you really need either of them? Wait, what are they again?
Style is the form and structure with which you write.
Voice is the attitude and perspective with which you write.
In other words, voice is the emotion and feeling of a piece of literature, and style is the technical way of communicating that emotion.
Clearly, there is a tangible difference between the two. Style is a delivery system for voice. While voice can and should affect the form with which you write, you can most certainly write one without the other. However, the best writing is a masterful fusion of both.
I'm here to illustrate for you the difference between style and voice and to define exactly what they are and how you can us
A Guide to Writing StyleA Guide to Writing Style by illuminara
Writing Style - The Bottom Line
Words are like sunbeams. The more they are condensed, the deeper they burn. - Robert Southey
Prose is architecture, not interior decorating. - Ernest Hemingway
Writing style is made up of two things: cadence and variation.
Good style is clear, readable, and invisible. Its purpose is not to attract attention to itself but to transport readers into the world of your story. If your readers notice your style without purposefully intending to study it, your style needs to be improved and refined. Good style, however, is transparent so that your readers simply see the characters and world of your story rather than the words you use to portray them.
To write with cadence simply means that your writing should sound natural. If it sounds right to you, it probably is--but if it doesnt sound right,
Grace currently lives in Ohio where she's an office monkey by day and weekend dog wrangler. She often complains about the lack of decent sci-fi these days while playing with her fountain pens and typewriter.|
She is an avid student of stories, analyst, and writer who's more interested in experimenting with new forms of storytelling than adhering to traditional methods. She always questions classical thinking and enjoys sharing what she's discovered.
Got a burning question related to writing fiction or storytelling in general? I'll be happy to answer! Simply send a note!
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