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04 Apr

INTERVIEWING YOUR PROTAGONIST

“It begins with a character, usually, and once he stands up on his feet and begins to move, all I can do is trot along behind him with a paper and pencil trying to keep up long enough to put down what he says and does.” – William Faulkner This week in workshop, I asked […]

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24 Feb

SETTING

Many young writers find writing setting a bit of a chore; they would rather get on with their story instead of describing the wallpaper.  However, setting can and should be much more than an inventory of your protagonist’s bedroom.  Setting is one of the primary ways a writer establishes a story’s mood, that is the […]

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02 Feb

MINING YOUR TRUTH

All fiction, whether it be realistic or fantastical, originates from something true in the author.  You may not be aware of this connection when you begin a story; in fact, I think it’s best if you don’t think about it when you’re starting out, so you don’t get scared off. At a certain point in […]

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20 Jan

THE MIND OF THE ANTAGONIST

In fiction, the antagonist is the opponent or enemy of the protagonist, but that doesn’t mean the antagonist is purely evil or bad.  In fact, it’s much more interesting for your story if you can get to know your antagonist as a complex, deep character, rather than a simple enemy.  In order to develop this […]

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11 Jan

A VIVID AND CONTINUOUS DREAM"

In his book, On Becoming a Novelist, John Gardner says that the goal of the writer is to create a “vivid and continuos dream.”  You’ve probably experienced that state as a reader where you are completely absorbed in the world and the story.  How do you create that feeling in your own writing? The answer lies in […]

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30 Oct

SIGNIFICANT OBJECTS

In most stories, there is a particular object that takes on a lot of meaning or significance.  For instance, think of the golden ticket in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the ruby slippers in The Wizard of Oz, or the sneakers in Holes. Your task this week is to write the next scene in your […]

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24 Sep

IN MEDIAS RES

Today we learned about in medias res, a literary technique where the author begins the story in the middle of the action, rather than beginning at the beginning.  We looked at five examples of novels that begin in medias res: Everything You Need to Know to Survive the Apocalypse by Lucas Klauss, All the Right […]

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24 Sep

IN MEDIAS RES

Today we learned about in medias res, a literary technique where the author begins the story in the middle of the action, rather than beginning at the beginning.  We looked at five examples of novels that begin in medias res: Everything You Need to Know to Survive the Apocalypse by Lucas Klauss, All the Right […]

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10 Jun

SINS

Choose one of the “deadly sins,” which are lust, sloth, rage, gluttony, jealousy, greed, and pride.  Shame also works well.  Write a scene where your main character is feeling one of those “sins” in a big way!  Think about how to express the feeling in metaphor or concrete detail. Show the feeling, don’t tell the […]

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