Monthly Archives: August 2014

MacGuffin Plotting

A MacGuffin is an item that becomes the central focus of the plot—despite the fact that it doesn’t really matter what it actually is. It has become a staple feature of blockbuster films, even though some call it lazy plotting—but … Continue reading

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Epic Heroes and Cliches

I really could not think what to post about today… So you get some random notes I made on epic heroes! Congratulations… 🙂 Heroes and Epic Fantasy Clichés A lot of times, heroes (almost always male) will start in one … Continue reading

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The Read-Through

I just finished my first full read-through of my project. And, surprising no one, my feelings are complicated. Part of me was disappointed that it hadn’t magically become perfect, that it did have serious flaws, and that at least the … Continue reading

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Three Ways to Evaluate an Idea

With my first major project heading into revision, I can’t help but think about what I’ll write after. I know, I know, focus on one thing at a time—but the idea of actually publishing my current project, while thrilling, also … Continue reading

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The Downsides of a First Draft

It’s practically ubiquitous writing advice to write a first draft, then wait, then go back and revise it to perfection. And it’s advice I’ve given here, and believe in, that you need to write a crappy first draft just to … Continue reading

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Standalones vs. Series

In some genres, namely fantasy and science fiction, there is perhaps nothing rarer than the standalone novel. A novel with no sequels, planned or occurring spontaneously, epic or procedural—just a single story, standing alone, forever. There’s no inherent reason for … Continue reading

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Goals and Intimidation

There’s an unusual and contradictory feeling that comes over you when you set out to achieve your goals, no matter how desperately or joyfully you desire their completion—fatigue. You contemplate the task at hand (the larger or more complex, the … Continue reading

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Unsolicited Advice

It appears to be a fact of small talk, perhaps just in the Midwest suburbs, that people will constantly give you unsolicited advice. These are suggestions (and sometimes unending interrogations intended to supply potential suggestions) for what to do—for a … Continue reading

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How to Develop Themes

If you’ve ever taken an English class, you have probably talked a lot about “theme.” Some teachers call it a one-word topic, like “love” or “individuality”; some call it a phrase or message, like “love conquers all” or “crime doesn’t … Continue reading

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Fear of the Fluke

There’s an emotional place when you desperately want to be a writer but either don’t or can’t seem to write anything, where it feels like if you can just get a draft finished that it will all be over. It … Continue reading

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