At its most basic a story’s components are these – a beginning, a middle, an end.
The beginning is the situation or set up.
The middle are the complications.
The end is the resolution.
Our lives are like this too. We begin in certain circumstances. We live and encounter complications and then we end.
But even within that simplified construction there are divisions. There are vertical stories and linear stories, which is a fancier way of saying stories that are character driven or plot driven.
But the key word is up there twice and that’s – driven. We drive the stories we write and we also have to drive the stories that we live, controlling our own destiny so that we can handle the murky middles and complications and so that by the time we get to the resolution, we can feel satisfied by who we are and what we’ve done.
We tend to think of stories as either or. They are plot driven or they are character driven, but the truth is that most stories are intertwined.
And then there’s drama and melodrama. I think people can be roughly categorized as these types, too, but we can oscillate between the two.
A drama is usually more realistic. People will ponder things. The set might be a bit depressing or quirky or dull because – well, because real life involves these things, too.
A melodrama usually involves a chase sequence. The scenery rushes by quickly. There are things – all the things – happening.
What kind of story you’re writing is an important first step to think about even if you’re a writer who doesn’t outline ahead of time. What kind of life you’re living? That’s an even more important thing to think about honestly.
So what are you? Are you drama? Or are you melodrama? Are you linear or vertical? Do you oscillate between them all?
Think about stuff.
Be the drama or melodrama or middle-drama that you want to be? Also, it’s okay to be a drug cocktail.
The New York Post article we reference in the podcast is by Lindsay Putnam.
The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song? It’s “Night Owl” by Broke For Free.
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My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!
It’s with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed!
Order this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?
Buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site.
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Taylor Ann Wright! I was lucky enough to read Taylor’s book in development and I’m so glad it’s out there in the world. During the podcast, we talk about Taylor’s first stories, her love of lions and even have a cameo from her amazing cat. It’s pretty hard not to fall in love with someone as great and enthusiastic about writing as Taylor is. Her charm is infectious and her book is amazing! I hope you’ll check it out. About Her Book The king of Hollow is dead. When the news of his murder is spread to his kingdom, no one knows why he was killed. For decades King Dravin ruled with wisdom, kindness and peace. A death this brutal was seemingly unprovoked. Queen Seraphina, his wife, now sits on the throne. With someone so sinister and evil ruling the kingdom, the only chance of finding the truth is in the hands of their 22 year-old ...
The amazing writer and human, Ellen Booraem, spent nineteen years as a small-town journalist before quitting her day job to write four award-winning fantasies for readers ten and older (The Unnameables, Small Persons with Wings, Texting the Underworld and River Magic. In this bonus podcast, we talked about Ellen’s writing tips to deal with writing blocks, the big leaps she took to start a fiction career at 52, and the incredibly cool WORD festival (the annual Blue Hill Maine literary arts festival) that’s coming up this October (which you should all check out). We also touch on how working at a newspaper made us visual writers and trained us for fiction. Ellen volunteers as a writing coach for students in her local middle school and is a founding organizer for Word, the annual Blue Hill (Maine) literary arts festival. Having ventured from her early time as Alton Hall Blackington’s next door neighbor in coastal Massachusetts, she now lives in coastal Maine with her partner, painter Robert Shillady. Publisher’s Weekly called Ellen’s latest novel, “A dense emotional core, resonant voice, and themes of grief, shifting friendships, and family enliven Booraem’s contemporary fantasy, reminding readers that ‘hope is everywhere.’” To find out more about Ellen and her books, check out Ellen’s website: https://www.ellenbooraem.com/ To find out more about WORD (which is online this year), check out its website: https://www.wordfestival.org/ And Word’s full schedule including workshops, art, and readings is here: ...
So, last month Carrie was on an airplane, where she was trapped on a Philadelphia runway for awhile. Okay, hours. And someone kept expelling gas out the rectum. In Shaun language that means fart. Anyways, they were all trapped there, smelling this smell, and it was bad. Not bad enough for them to cancel the flight, which has allegedly happened in the past, but it was bad. We're not talking about the nice kind of dutch ovens from Le Creuset where you make phenomenal meals. We're talking about the kind where you're in bed with someone and you make a bad smell and then yank up the covers and trap your loved one in there so they must smell the smell and they can't escape. What does this have to do with writing? Dutch ovens are all about being trapped in a situation you'd rather not be in, right? That tension and need to escape is a big part of writing, especially writing thrillers. Writing Tension Tip #1 Writers need tension in their story, but you don't want to kill your reader with that tension. Your tension has a goal and a purpose. It's not just thrown in there for no reason. It's like when you're in a fight. You don't throw a punch without a purpose. You want to knock someone down. Tension is like that. But if you let it all loose at once (think bad gas) and then trap someone in there with it? ...