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Showing posts from October, 2018

How to Use Background and Foreground

There are all sorts of things that make writing effective. Getting the detail right is crucial, and one of the best ways if to create the right balance of background and foreground. Both make those details count. But what exactly is background and foreground? Think of a painting. The main focus is on the subject of the painting and what is going on immediately around that subject. This is the foreground. But away from the main subject, there may also be something in the background – another person or object, bright colours and layers, the kind of things we don’t see right away; things that enhance the whole picture. That’s how background and foreground works. The background is something all writers are familiar with. It’s the type of information that is relevant to the story, but is presented in manageable narrative snippets throughout, so as not to be too intrusive. In other words, certain information stays in the background, yet is always present. Background detail works because the wri…

Developing a Story Idea – Part 2

In Part 1, we looked at the building blocks of story development – formulating the idea, brainstorming, creating the characters and their goals, using mind maps, linear graphs or other ways to visualise how the rest of the characters and story revolve around the main character, so in Part 2 we’ll look at the last stages of development – the story arc, outlining and the important critical choices before you write.
You’ve written down the plot, you’ve thrown together some ideas, you’ve created your characters and mapped each one thoroughly and you might have a mind map or linear graph or just simple notes to help pull the story together.
Next, plot the story arc. In other words, put together some sort of incident running order of important plot points; the key moments that will elevate the story. These are often the foundations for the story, because without the chain of events, there wouldn’t be much story to tell. So, for instance, point A happens, which results in Point B, which in tu…

Developing a Story Idea – Part 1

Story ideas come in all manner of ways. Sometimes they pop into our heads from nowhere, or sometimes they appear after we see, hear or read something. But for writers who are more thorough in their approach to writing, the seed of an idea will need a huge amount of development to grow from an idea into a fully-fledged plot for a novel.
The story is made up of several different components – the initial idea, the plot, the characters, the themes, the sub plot and so on. They’re all interconnected and they all require a place within your story progress, so that means those elements need to be brought together to create a flawless story.
The first step with story development is writing the idea down. It doesn’t have to be precise or detailed. Most often our ideas are raw, undiluted and at times more of a jumble. The idea for a story can come from anywhere – it could be from a simple observation, an overheard conversation or a collection of thoughts. Or it could be a slightly more rounded id…