Showing posts from November, 2016

Developing a Story – Part 1

All stories need some sort of development, to a degree.   Writers are as individual as their stories and everyone approaches fiction writing in a different way, so there are authors who like to develop and plan their stories in great detail, and those who write ad hoc, commonly known as “pansters”. It’s entirely up to the writer what they do, however some planning and development is encouraged, otherwise the result could end up an incoherent mess. There are a number of benefits for story development. It’s the difference between driving a car in the dark with the headlights on and driving without any light at all. Without lights to see where you’re going, you’re quite literally in the dark – in every way. Story development works in the same way – you can choose to be in the dark about, and just hope for the best, it or you can plan your story/novel in as much detail as you want. Story development makes the process so much easier, it helps the writer not just to put together a

Starting Points – Where Should a Story Start?

This is a common question asked by almost all writers. At which point is the right point to start the story? Where is the best place to start? The obvious answer is to start at the beginning, because that’s where every story starts, but in truth, the story shouldn’t start at the beginning, not in the literal sense. This sounds like contrary advice, but it actually isn’t.   All good editors and writers will agree – a story should start just after the beginning. But what does that actually mean? It’s the general accepted principle that a good story opens at a crucial or significant moment in the character’s life. Often, you will come across the ‘Open with a bang’ statement, which advises to open the story in such as way as to grab the reader’s interest. In essence, this means the story should jump right into the action, and that means the beginning of the story should reflect this. In real terms, however, this action probably wouldn’t happen until chapter two, when things g

What’s a Character Arc?

In much the same way that story arcs work, as discussed in last week’s article, character arcs encompass how a character grows and develops throughout the story, from beginning to end. But what are they exactly? When writers refer to character arcs, they’re referring to the continuing development path of a particular character, which begins at the very start of the story, when he or she is usually at his or her most vulnerable or weakest, and follows this development right to the end of the story, when the character is at his or her strongest. It’s that change the character undergoes that is captured in a character arc. Again, like story arcs, when we talk of a character arc, it’s a figurative thing, rather than a physical one. It is a representation of the chronological journey your main characters take through the entire story and the transformation that occurs because of this - his or her motivations, main goal, expectations, conflicts, important events, revelations and t

What’s a Story Arc?

This is a phrase often used by writers to explain elements of a story, but many don’t understand what it actually means, or indeed what a story arc is. Whenever you hear reference to the story arc, or a narrative arc, as it is sometimes known, it is usually referring to the continuing narrative path; the logical construction of the story from the very beginning and right to the end. The best way to picture the arc is to imagine a line graph. Every narrative arc incorporates the start of the story, the major events and incidents that happen, and it follows through the rising action and conflicts, all the way to the end of the story. The “arc” reference is more of figurative thing - a starting point, which rises, then reaches a pinnacle; a conclusion, and then forms a descent towards a resolution, so in effect, it takes the shape of a curve (the symbolic arc). But the important thing to remember about the story arc is that it in truth; it’s a representation of the chronological