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How to Structure A Story: The Eight-Point Arc

How to Structure A Story: The Eight-Point Arc
By Ali Hale - 3 minute read One of my favourite “how to write” books is Nigel Watts’ Writing A Novel and Getting Published. My battered, torn and heavily-pencil-marked copy is a testament to how useful I’ve found it over the years. (Even if you’re a short story writer or flash fiction writer rather than a novelist, this structure still applies, so don’t be put off by the title of Watts’ book.) The eight points which Watts lists are, in order: StasisTriggerThe questSurpriseCritical choiceClimaxReversalResolution He explains that every classic plot passes through these stages and that he doesn’t tend to use them to plan a story, but instead uses the points during the writing process: I find [the eight-point arc] most useful as a checklist against which to measure a work in progress. So, what do the eight points mean? Stasis This is the “every day life” in which the story is set. Trigger Something beyond the control of the protagonist (hero/heroine) is the trigger which sparks off the story. Related:  skills

Three Ways to a Killer Opening Line By Diane O’Connell When you first crack open a new novel, there’s so much riding on that first sentence. I know it sounds a bit extreme, but hear me out — aren’t opening lines that immediately pull you into the novel’s story world so much more invigorating and intriguing than lackluster ones? A powerful and utterly interesting opening line can not only draw readers into your novel, but also hint at the overarching themes your work explores in a deep and lasting way. Here are 3 ways to open your novel: 1. It was the day my grandmother exploded. Did you just ask yourself, “What? Often, the best of these jolting lines have short, choppy syntax, or contain phrases that are downright confusing to readers (like the one above). 2. “Picture a summer stolen whole from some coming-of-age film set in small-town 1950s.” Gorgeous, almost poetic prose can sweep readers into your novel’s setting, as this opening line does here. A vibrant opening like this also sets the tone for the rest of the novel. 3.

How to build a fictional world - Kate Messner The world building strategies of popular books like Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter have been analyzed in great detail by writers and critics alike. The NPR piece “At Home in Fantasy’s Nerd-Built World” continues the conversation, taking a look at the magical creation of George R. R. Martin’s world in Game of Thrones. If you’re ready to create your very own fictional world, it’s great to start by reading lots of examples – and read like a writer, studying the craft of world building. Pay attention to the details and ask yourself why the author might have made the choices he or she did. When you’re ready to move forward, you may want to use author Kate Messner’s world building worksheet as a guide. Author/educator Kate Messner’s science thrillers Eye of the Storm and Wake Up Missing may serve as additional mentor texts for writers who want to build their own futuristic worlds.

Useful Sites for Beginners to Creative Writing Jul 20, 2011 Creative writing can be a fun and satisfying pursuit, but getting started is often intimidating. Check out the following websites for writing prompts, style tips and other essential resources for beginning poets and creative writers. Writing Prompts Find yourself staring at a blank page? Get your juices flowing with a little help from these sites: Creative Writing Prompts - Over 300 quick story ideas and inspirations. Mechanics & Style Good grammar, tight mechanics and a strong personal voice are essential elements to good creative writing. OWL - Purdue University's Online Writing Lab (OWL) covers just about everything writing-related. Writing Forums Not ready to join a 'real life' writer's group? Writing.com - This forum for writers of all skill levels has been operating for over a decade. Other Resources Writer's Digest - The website for the Writer's Digest magazine offers a huge range of resources in one place: forums, style tips, creativity prompts and much more.

The Almost Totally Random Writing Exercise Generators You're the Inspiration... Several years ago, I saw a random paring generator on a friend's website, and thought it was neat, but wanted something a little less specific for my own use, since I liked to choose my own pairing. I created The Almost Totally Random Writing Exercise Generator, with input from ElmyraEmilie to generate writing exercises to inspire our writing muses. The premise is that each prompt included a technical parameter (such as pov, word length or writing time), a writing style or character type parameter, and a word or phrase for inspiration. Any parameter was subject to inspiration, of course, as the object was merely to get writing. The Almost Totally Random Writing Exercise Generators are based on the random pairing Generator by Glowstick Chick (and tweaked by others, including docmichelle - her version is here)

Main Character: How To Kill Your Protagonist There are many reasons writers decide to kill off their protagonist. The trick is to do it for the right reasons and in a way that won’t make the reader stomp off in a huff. If you’re a writer considering doing away with the main character (MC) in your short story or novel, we’ve got a few tips to keep in mind. In 1893, thousands of English readers canceled their subscription to The Strand when Sir Arthur Conan Doyle killed off Sherlock Holmes. When Tony Soprano was killed in the season finale of The Sopranos—well, we’re assuming he was whacked, as the tension built and the screen suddenly went black—the audience had no choice but to accept it. Alice Sebold took a different—and highly successful—approach to killing off her main character. “These were the lovely bones that had grown around my absence: the connections—sometimes tenuous, sometimes made at great cost, but often magnificent—that happened after I was gone. Be somewhat realistic. Ronnie L.

3 Steps to Writing a Novel with Unforgettable Characters Character development is one of the first essential steps of writing a novel and it involves creating the people who will carry out your story. There will most likely be a variety of characters needed for your story, but none as important as your lead character – your protagonist. A well-developed protagonist has much to do with the success of writing a novel. When writing a novel, the protagonist should be someone that your readers feel is a “real person” that they come to love (or at least like a whole lot), can relate to in many ways, and will care about and think about long after they’ve turned the final page on your novel. How to Create “Real People” for Your Novel When writing a novel, there are many ways to go about creating characters and much has been written about it in “how to write a novel books”, sometimes in great detail. Writing a Novel – Four Attributes of a Lead Character: 1. 2. 3. 4. Writing a Novel – Three Attributes Every Character Has: 1. 2. 3. 1. 2. 3.

World Under Snow in 12 Magical Photos Winter in Krakow, Poland. Photo by: Marcin Ryczek Walking in the snow is fun. Photo by: Cedar Beauregard Church in Switzerland surrounded by snow. Baby lion plays with snowball in Belgrade Zoo, Serbia. Lonely tree in magical winter scenery, Yellowstone, United States. Train goes to the snow, Germany. Traffic in mountain pass in Kashmir, India. Snowy town of Qaqortoq, Greenland. Golden retriever playing in the snow. Burstall pass, Alberta, Canada. Snowfall over Colosseum in Rome, Italy. Great wall under snow, Beijing, China.

Character Questionnaires - Get to Know Your Characters Receive more writing tips and advice (along with special offers and other Gotham news). One of the best ways to get to know your characters is to ask questions about them. Many writers do this as a kind of homework before they actually start writing a story. The more you know your characters, the fuller they will be. This might also make your story easier to write. The following questionnaires may be downloaded so you can work with the actual documents. Character Questionnaire 1 This questionnaire is found in Gotham Writers Workshops Writing Fiction. You might start with questions that address the basics about a character: What is your characters name? What is your characters hair color? What kind of distinguishing facial features does your character have? Does your character have a birthmark? Who are your characters friends and family? Where was your character born? Where does your character go when hes angry? What is her biggest fear? Does she have a secret? Look at your characters feet.

Five Weak Words that Make Your Writing Less Effective Bonus: For more tips on becoming a stronger writer delivered directly to your inbox for free, click here. I can’t stand frail, weak writing. And neither can you. You know when you’ve read content that compels you to do something that matters and when something bores you to tears. And you need to be able to identify those words that weaken your writing so that you can stamp them out of your vocabulary. Words are the lifeblood of your writing. Words matter. Untrained writers can be careless with their words. “Stuff” Stuff is a lazy word. Instead, use a more descriptive noun. “Things” Things is another lazy word. Things is nondescript and can often be replaced with much better nouns, such as “reasons” or “elements” or “issues” and so on… “Got” Got is a terrible verb. Instead of saying “I got up”, say “I woke up.” Instead of saying, “I got a baseball”, say, “I have a baseball” or “I found a baseball.” Not only is got a lazy word; it is also vague. “Was/Is/Are/Am” “Went” Went is like are.

25 Rules And Formulas For Writing Irresistible Headlines There is an art to writing post headlines and bloggers have to learn this art in order to better attract visitors. Your potential visitors are busy people. You are competing to get their attention and a share of their valuable time, and you compete against many other things. Their work, their family and friends, their social network, their interests, all the other media and websites and many more factors. To attract visitors and draw them in you must write powerful, relevant and eye-catching headlines for your posts. Your headlines must be sharp, they must make people curious and prompt them to click on your link no matter the distractions and the competing choices in their news feeds. Spend time and write more than one headline Some bloggers feel that it is difficult to explain what their post is about in a few words. Many writers would spend majority of their time on the body of content itself and then just create a last-minute headline to finish it off before publishing.

Brent Weeks | Writing Advice My eyes usually glaze over whenever I see somebody saying something as artsy as “go into yourself”. But this is Rilke. And it’s worth getting past that. You are looking outward, and that above all you should not do now. In an effort to make it so you don’t have to scroll ludicrously far to read the new update every month, we’ve broken the Writing Advice Page into four pages. LATEST POST: Should there be happy endings? 1. a. b. c. d. I. e. f. g. I. II. III. IV. h. i. 2. a. I. II. b. I. c. d. e. 3. a. b. c. d. e. I. II. III. f. g. h. i. j. 4. a. b. c. a. b. c. d. e. f. g. h. i. j. k.

- StumbleUpon They can do more than just tell the reader who is speaking Speech tags can be as simple as said or as complicated as three paragraphs of hand motions. Said is best used, in my humble opinion, when the dialogue is important and you want the reader's full attention. Said Michael, in an extremely neutral tone. Said soothingly Said plainly Said cheerily Said faintly asked quietly Other says of adding more depth include all of the following: Same arctic voice he began, and stalled in a tone of mild encouragement fell into a digestive silence noted with dark amusement He went on more confidently Pointed out In a decidedly odd tone Cleared his throat, and began Sputtered, momentarily beyond words Crying openly now, thin strained sobs Reporting how the person responds to the last line said can also convey a great deal Looked quite stunned, his mouth slightly open. Leaned forward, staring avidly eyed him dubiously Screwed up her mouth, and shook her head Raised an inquiring eyebrow at this Glanced aside Sighed dreamily

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