05 Jun

WHAT DOES HE FEEL? WHAT DOES HE DO?

First, figure out what is the next thing that happens in your story.  This is the next beat, or the next plot point, as your protagonist struggles to achieve his or her goal or desire, and to avoid his or her problems.  Usually, the protagonist will fail, and more than once, before the climax of a story. […]

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05 Jun

WHAT DOES HE FEEL? WHAT DOES HE DO?

First, figure out what is the next thing that happens in your story.  This is the next beat, or the next plot point, as your protagonist struggles to achieve his or her goal or desire, and to avoid his or her problems.  Usually, the protagonist will fail, and more than once, before the climax of a story. […]

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14 Apr

USING PHOTOGRAPHS

Your assignment this week will help you start to think about character and point-of-view.  First, find a photograph with at least two people in it.  They may not be famous people, or people you know, so no family vacation photos and no Benedict Cumberbatch.  You can rip something out of a magazine, or print something from online, […]

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14 Apr

USING PHOTOGRAPHS

Your assignment this week will help you start to think about character and point-of-view.  First, find a photograph with at least two people in it.  They may not be famous people, or people you know, so no family vacation photos and no Benedict Cumberbatch.  You can rip something out of a magazine, or print something from online, […]

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02 Mar

TRAPPED!

We talk a lot about how problems and conflict make a story more exciting.  For this week’s assignment, I want you to trap your protagonist in a confining space.  Depending on your taste or your story, it could be a refrigerator, a closet, a trunk, a jail cell, a car trunk, an elevator, a port-a-potty, […]

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02 Mar

CLIMAX

Hi folks, Most of you are heading towards the end of your stories (or at least can see the ending in the distance), so it’s time to talk about writing the climax. The climax is the top of that plot mountain teachers are always talking about, the final battle, the answer to the mystery, the […]

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25 Jan

INTERIORITY

Each person sees the world in a different way, and so does each character.  Point of view doesn’t just mean first-person or third-person, it’s the his unique, perspective of the protagonist, the strange blend of what he or she sees, hears, feels, smells, tastes, remembers, dreams about, worries about, wants, wonders, fears, or, to put […]

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07 Oct

DESIRES AND OBSTACLES

As Kurt Vonnegut once wrote, “Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.”  This is excellent advice, as characters who don’t want anything, who are bored, complacent, or satisfied with their lives, make for dull stories. But what if that thirsty character simply goes over to the sink and fills […]

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30 Sep

TELLING YOUR STORY THROUGH DIALOGUE

Of all the tools and tricks a writer employs, I think dialogue may be the most important.  Not only does dialogue bring your characters to life, it can also reveal their personalities, it can advance the plot, and it can build tension.   It’s also really fun to read. For this week’s assignment, I want […]

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24 Sep

CHARACTER-BUILDING QUESTIONS

Answer the following questions in your notebook or on a separate sheet of paper.  You do not need to write in full sentences.  If you don’t know, skip it and come back, but don’t skip too many– just go with your instincts. What color is your hair? What color are your eyes? You have a […]

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