Category: Writing Craft

Speed of a Novel. Middlemarch

More action with shorter sequels is the rule in commercial fiction these days, but I mustn’t forget that the sequels must be full enough to make the skein of actions sensibly linked.

Words and Writing

What else accounts for the difference most of us experience between the vigor of our speech and the difficulty of our writing?

Novel Form

Freytag's Pyramid

Novels require suspense about the outcome between a determined person and a formidable obstacle. If the story cannot be cast in that shape, then another mode of telling the story is required

Live by the Word

Facts are surrounded by words

I spend a lot of time reading words, writing words, and thinking in words. And I’ve noticed a peculiar feature which sometimes happens to me. I start following the words of people who are involved in a dispute – both sides – more than I refer back to the actual actions involved. My thought train…

Math And Science Affect How I Think and Write

The energy of activation that must be surmounted for a reaction to occur

When I make an argument or write an essay, it’s math and science that shape my thoughts, much more than the two English classes I took as an undergraduate. Minimal Orthogonal dimensions From vector space theory, construct a set of axioms which span the space of discussion and make those premises independent of each other.…

Motivation for Writing Message Stories

Boy flying by standing on bees

Samuel Taylor Coleridge mentioned the “willing suspension of disbelief” that readers bring to a well-told fantastic tale, inducing them to believe the unbelievable.  Now, it is a commonplace that the reader can be counted on to enter a fictional story ready to accept an initial situation if everything afterwards is sensibly connected to the initial…

Distance. Insight into Show, Don’t Tell

John Gardner in The Art of Fiction described a very useful addition to the discussion about point of view (POV). He called it distance. Distance is a measure of emotional nearness presented to the reader. Understanding distance gives more insight into the constraint that all writers know: “Show. Don’t tell.” Gardner focused on distance with…

Essay or Story

As a person interested in issues, sometimes I get a passion for a developing idea yet am unsure whether to express it as an essay or a story. Sometimes I write a critical essay, other times a short story. Why would I ever want to write a piece of fiction to lay out an idea…