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Literature > Fiction Writing Fundamentals

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message 1: by Ilyn (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
To avoid writer’s block: think in essentials.

Think like an architect. A short story is like a two-storey house with a basement while a novel is like a skyscraper. It is inefficient and foolish to build a two-storey house without a design. One can’t build a skyscraper without designing it first.

Before an architect could design a building, he must know its function. A design for a hospital differs from an airport’s. In the same way, the architect of a novel, the author, must determine the function or theme of his story. Then, form follows function.

A building cannot stand without foundations – the architect of a novel must build the framework, or the plot, first. In doing so, he must think in essentials. What does he want to write about? Why? How will he achieve the answer to the why?

After a firm, integrated framework is in place, that is, after logically connected essentials that advance the theme are in place, it would be much easier to think about the details.


message 2: by Jason (new)

Jason Williams (aworldinfinite) Yes, this is of course, all very true. I, myself, think of creative writing in this way. But sometimes, an idea comes up for a small detail that would be excellent to integrate but requires some shift in the foundations in order to have. Or sometimes, as you write, you begin to find that things aren't going as planned (you've plotted something out that looked good in outlined but now obviously makes no sense when attempting to be executed). The writing process is a restless one. Especially in researching.


message 3: by Ilyn (last edited Oct 18, 2008 02:24AM) (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
Hello Jason! Nice to see you back. Hello everyone.

We learn a lot from mistakes and failed attempts. From Thomas Edison: "Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration." When asked about his over 2,000 failed attempts to make a working filament for the light bulb, he said: "I didn't fail 2,000 times; I just found 2,000 ways not to make a light bulb."

About research: One doesn't have to remember the details of numerous information. Take note of your sources of info - if they are available online, document the link and a brief description of the info it contains. When you need details, review the source document(s).


message 4: by Daniel (new)

Daniel Clausen Ilyn, I think the newer someone is to writing the more a writer needs structure--especially to finish long works. In about a year or so I'm going to have to start thinking about my dissertation. I was reading through other dissertations in my department and they're filled with headings and subheadings. Dissertation advisors make students do that in order to ensure that they create a structure and stick to it. I pretty sure that's the only way anyone would get out the door. I think as writers get more experienced rigorous outlining and other tools to stay on track aren't as essential, though. I'm only speculating of course. I'm too new to know how exactly experience helps.


message 5: by Ilyn (last edited Jul 04, 2009 05:34AM) (new)

Ilyn Ross (ilyn_ross) | 1071 comments Mod
Hi Daniel.Best wishes on your dissertation.

The theme or purpose is very important because that is the foundation. A change in the theme would require a change in the structure. But there could be improvements in the plot with nary a change in the structrure.


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