Complicated histories

March 6, 2015 § Leave a comment

“complicated histories of desire and regret”

Heard Megan Abbot say that.


Free Indirect Discourse — Huh

May 1, 2013 § Leave a comment

Free Indirect Discourse — It is a thing that is interesting. A technical thing about narrative point of view. Came to my attention because of this Paris Review interview, Mary McCarthy, The Art of Fiction No. 27.

 The problem of the point of view, and the voice: style indirect libre—the author’s voice, by a kind of ventriloquism, disappearing in and completely limited by the voices of his characters. What it has meant is the complete banishment of the author.

A description of what it is here:  The Benefits of Free Indirect Discourse

Trying to grok it. Also wondering how it relates to Third Person Limited POV.

You and the metaphor you road in on

April 17, 2013 § Leave a comment

I have grown weary and leery of the power of metaphor to trivialize. It is not cancer unless someone’s body is eating itself alive. It is not war unless people are trying to kill each other. It is not giving birth unless it is goddamn giving birth.

Think of your protagonist’s arc in terms of sacrifice

September 1, 2012 § Leave a comment

That’s the teaser for Xander Benet’s  Screenwriting Tip #1089.  I don’t want to quote it here because the tips are so short I’d just be stealing the whole content of that day’s post.  He does a daily tip, and is worth following.  Some of his tips are real zingers for me.  This is one.


Seems like that link might not be good anymore. So that I remember, it was something like at the beginning of the story your protagonist is willing to sacrifice nothing, and by the end they are willing to sacrifice anything.

“Plot is like a chainsaw”

December 31, 2011 § Leave a comment

I heard Elizabeth Bear say that plot was like a chainsaw, a series of little hooks that keep coming.    Reminded me of the Little Mysteries post.



“Every criticism is the tragic result of an unmet need.”

December 31, 2011 § Leave a comment

From John Rogers blog

… ahh … you know the best thing I ever heard, the thing I wish someone had told me when I was 20?
“Every criticism is the tragic result of an unmet need.”

Little Mysteries

November 5, 2011 § Leave a comment

I am listening to Episode 198 , In Defense of Twilight, of the Dead Robots’ Society.  They are trying to analyze what lessons writers can learn from these immensely popular books.  One thing they have pointed out is that there is always some little mystery that either the reader or the protagonist, or both, are trying to puzzle out.  There are also big mysteries that span the whole series, like why can’t Edward read Bella’s mind, but what keeps the tension constant and the pages turning is that every chapter, almost every scene has at least some little mystery.  For example, the first time Edward sits next to Bella in class, why does he act so weird?  How could he hate her already?  Or, why do Edward’s eyes change color?  Or why does Edward miss several days of school?  Or why do Joseph’s peole dislike Edward’s family?

I read enough of the first book to see what they are talking about.  Of course you have the big mysteries, but the insight that almost every scene has Bella worrying over one of these little mysteries, is an interesting one.

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