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Fiction: The Art of Storytelling

A helpful guide to fiction writing through deprogramming, deconstruction, and discovery.
by

Brandon Williams

on 31 January 2012

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Transcript of Fiction: The Art of Storytelling

Fiction: The Art of Storytelling
The Story
The Rules
The Fix
We live by stories. They are how we:
Conclusion
is here
You will make a mess
You must write badly first
Mistakes lead to discovery
Art begins with error
Letting yourself be bad is the best way to become good

Everything can be fixed
Fixing makes exciting things happen
Keep writing no matter how awful it feels
Everything works because you can add, subtract, make changes, and adjustments until your story comes alive
Conflict
Action
Resolution
Emotion
+ Showing
Story
relate
interact
stay connected
maintain our identity
"The first draft
is always shit"
based on. . .
A want + an obstacle = conflict
Stories are about adversity
Someone must want something and there must be an obstacle to be overcome to satisfy that want.
Happy lives make lousy stories
If the characters are having fun, the reader is not
If it's going well, it's going nowhere
Complications are mini-conflicts that act as smaller obstacles that must be overcome
Conflict
Nothing tells us more about characters than how they deal with their problems
We learn about characters through their interaction with other characters
Whether they want it or not, conflict draws them out and that draws us in
How characters speak to themselves and one another is essential (dialogue)
Action
Resolution
The end is the beginning
Trouble with the ending means no real beginning, no true conflict
If the beginning is set up right, the characters propel the story to the end
Usually has a lesson learned (good or bad)
The ending need not be explicit
Emotion
Showing
We must know what the character is feeling at all times
If we don't feel for the character, we don't care or know how to feel about them
The character's feelings can be explicit or implicit
What if the character doesn't know how he or she feels? They can be confused at times, but eventually they must feel something
You can't simply tell the readers about a story, you have to show them
Good fiction is just as visual as film
Stories are about specific, concrete, and sensory experiences that the reader can see, hear, touch, taste, and smell
Recreate the incident instead of just telling about it
Details are carefully selected to support, explain, and enhance
Uses figurative language to enhance writing: simile, metaphor, personification, onomatopoeia, alliteration, hyperbole, et cetera.
Conflict+Action+Resolution:
Define the shape of the complete story
Emotion+Showing:
Critical ingredients to make the story come alive
Writer's Block
You are the toughest audience in the world
Kill the inner critic that says "nobody is going to like this" or "I suck at writing"
Ignore your defense mechanisms (unless you are writing about them)
You're not wrong; your emotions are wrong
Ideas
Full transcript