|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 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
The Professor “When I was your age, I had a sociology professor who always ranted about how the automation of labor would destroy the working class, steal our jobs, and put people on the streets. He believed, one day, we'd all be slaves to the machine--maybe even become machines ourselves. What would humanity be then? Would we forget our place in the world and let our hunger for progress blind us to our fate? He thought so and preached it from the pulpit of his chalkboard."The Professor by illuminara
I paused a moment to gage the attention of my new freshman class. The young androids squirmed a little, as they always do when presented with their history from a human perspective. I took a sip of oil and said, "He was a crazy old bastard, but he was right."
How to Develop Story ConflictHow to Develop Story Conflict by illuminara
Conflict is the central element of any story. It’s what keeps us on the edge of our seats and turning page after page until 3:00am. Or, as Wikipedia puts it, narrative conflict is “an inherent incompatibility between the objectives of two or more characters or forces. Conflict creates tension and interest in a story by adding doubt as to the outcome.”
So how do you create this all-important conflict in your stories? Well, it all starts in the development process. There are three basic steps to developing conflict, and they follow a specific logical progression because, ultimately, developing a good story is an exercise in logic. So let’s jump right in.
Step 1) Scope
The first step is drawing the boundaries your story’s scope. That might seem like a weird place to start, but scope will determine nearly every other aspect of your story.
The key here is to determine what within the world of your story is out of balance.
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
Writer's Tip: Writing Effective SentencesSentences—if the plot is the backbone of a story, then sentences are the muscles and tendons keeping it glued together. Unfortunately, writing solid sentences isn’t easy for everyone. As Human beings, we don’t speak the same way we write. Unless you do a lot of writing, you may have trouble putting together even the simplest of sentences. The last time you took a good look at a sentence and broke it down into its individual parts was probably around 3rd grade. Don’t worry—I’m here to help.Writer's Tip: Writing Effective Sentences by DarlingMionette
There’s More Than One Type of Sentence
There are (roughly) four different types of sentences, and we’re going to get into each of the different types (with examples!).
Simple Sentences – This is a sentence in its truest form. A simple sentence is the statement of a single idea in a direct, clear way. Most simple sentences contain less than 20 words, but it is best if you keep your word count aver
I like to consider myself a nerd with class--not because I'm classy but because I enjoy the classic things in life. I'm the kind of person who notices all the little specks of beauty and inspiration that tend to hide just out of sight everywhere we look. I'm passionate about living a life of creativity and enjoy writing, design, photography, and architecture to name a few of my favorites.|
I'm currently living in Ohio, and I work at a gun shop for my day job and train dogs as my side job. Not even kidding. I have an interesting life.
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