The essential three types of conflict in a story

In a story we often can find three types of conflict the protagonist has to delve with. These types of conflicts can be external, internal, and interpersonal. If your protagonist is riding a motorbike on a highway to chase a rapist on the run, that’s a pretty straightforward example of external conflict, or struggle. In fact, in this case the traffic, the high speed itself, the maneuvers the rapist may try to ram our protagonist’s bike off the road, are all external problems. Instead if your protagonist must come to terms with a traumatic episode of her life she’s been…

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Concise writing in fiction

Concise writing in fiction can be an important asset, but when it comes to creative writing, what really means when we say a text is concise? If we look it up, the definition of the online Oxford dictionary for concise reads like this: giving a lot of information clearly and in a few words; brief but comprehensive. At first blush it seems this definition presents a problematic aspect. In fact how can a piece of writing be brief and yet comprehensive? How can it give a lot of information in just a few words? The simple answer to these questions…

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Multitasking and monotasking – the essential difference

These days it seems you need to be multitasking away all the time if you are to truly consider yourself a citizen of the 21st century. Unfortunately, multitasking is the perfect way to carry out innumerable tasks at the same time with mediocre results at best. If what you’re trying to accomplish is something mundane or whose results are ultimately of small import, maybe multitasking can save you some time–maybe. But if you’re working at something that requires a lot of attention, multitasking is the best recipe to come up with sloppy results. Multitasking is also bad for your IQ and,…

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The secret recipe for a great novel? Does it even exist?

What is the secret recipe for a great novel? And the secret recipe for a bestseller? Above all, do these recipes even exist? Questions like these are of interest to writers and readers alike. In fact, while writers are always on the lookout for new ways to make their stories more and more compelling, and sellable, readers are forever sifting through the oceanic offer of books they have at their disposal to zero in on those with just the right features to turn an otherwise normal reading session into a deeply rewarding experience. As a result, at first blush for…

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Literary devices: repetition in books

Have you ever noticed? The best novels imitate reality. They don’t try to photocopy it. In fact, reality is too thick and complex a tapestry, so made up of billions and billions of different threads, to be captured in its entirety. It’s a tapestry where each thread represents a different story–each going on at the same time all the others are also going on. Besides, as soon as we lean closer to a thread we discover it’s just as complex and vast as the whole tapestry. In a way, reality is a sort of fractal. To navigate reality and understand at…

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How to create awesome character names

I already wrote another post on character names. But I felt it wasn’t as complete as it could have been. So here is a sort of part two. Some authors don’t even start writing if they don’t know the name of their characters. Others write a full first draft or even more using working names. Then they finally come up with a name that is the natural result of their staying with the story for such a long time. The name reveals itself, we could say. Now, probably names aren’t among the most important aspects of a great novel–but many great…

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20 signs you are a writer

Maybe it’s Neil Gaiman’s statement that particularly resonates with you–“As far as I’m concerned, the entire reason for becoming a writer is not having to get up in the morning.” Or maybe you feel more in line with Dorothy Parker’s take–“If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy.” In any case, shedding light on your desire to become a writer and what you’re actually doing to…

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How to kill your protagonist… and survive

Writers enjoy a notable perk. When they write they’re like little gods. In their novels they can play with their characters’ lives. And indeed it’s a well known rule of thumbs the one suggesting that you throw at your protagonist all you can, to make their life as miserable as possible. However, it’s also well known that great power carries with it great responsibility. As a result, the simple fact you can do whatever you want doesn’t necessarily entail you should do it. For example, you can stuff your story with Deus ex machina devices. In this way any hole in…

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How do you get creative writing ideas?

Write a new post or perish trying. Today I feel like perishing. I want to write interesting things about creative writing and the creative process, but all I can think of are boxes full of sand. Boxes full of sand? And what are they for? That’s a good question. And the answer is I don’t know for sure. But I have the strong feeling they are like ideas. I mean on those rare occasions they are delivered, so to speak, right to my door. Perfectly formed new ideas. They look like a gift from heaven. But are they really such…

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