The newest genres in fiction
Once upon a time, there were just two Genres in literature: Fiction and Non-Fiction.
But today, there are hundreds of Genres in Fiction alone with a couple dozen being mass marketed.
During Phase 1 of LAUNCH by The Write Stuff, our premier program for fiction authors, we help writers discover their Genres and SubGenres. It begins by understanding what you want to write and then a little bit about what your readers are interested in.
Start by looking at your own bookshelf: what Genres do you find? It’s not unlikely that you’re going to be…
There’s a simple test to know if you are meant to write that story
The best authors are the ones who absolutely positively have to write their story. There is something compelling them, captivating them, and fueling their curiosity and their creativity. Are you one of those authors? How do you know for sure?
It’s easy. Imagine walking away from your story idea, no matter how fledgling or uncertain it seems. Just stop writing it. Do you feel relieved, or do you feel panicky? If you feel relieved, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you aren’t meant to be a great…
Creating backstories that help you better understand your characters
Some authors really go overboard with writing and sharing backstories for their characters. It’s important to understand the purpose of creating backstory, and the separate reasons for sharing it. After all, it’s a necessary part of understanding your characters well enough to write them but that doesn’t mean your readers need to see it.
Here are some instances where backstory can take up too much space on the page:
Creating climaxes in fiction that are the culmination of your story’s primary Conflict
When readers think about story Climaxes, we often think of really epic events like bloody battles and tragic deaths, or of big heartbreaks and the downfall of heroes. But remember that your Climax is the culmination of your story’s Conflicts. The crescendo of the primary Conflict of your story will likely result in the most significant moment, but there are other conflicts that will also come to lesser peaks.
In the novel Little Children by Tom Perrotta, multiple characters living in the suburbs try to carve out…
Understanding the role that research plays in works of fiction
Fiction isn’t wholly created by imagination. While certainly the original inception of our stories will spring from our ideas, it’s important to note that we still have to use some factual information within the content.
Even stories rooted in fantasy still have a basis in truth. Invented worlds and imagined cities will resemble real ones, and unique creatures will mimic behaviors found in humans and animals. They’ll even have their own character archetypes. So, how do you use Research to create a fictional story?
In Geoff Ryman’s brilliant 1992 novel…
How to create relationships between archetypes in fiction
They say that three’s a crowd, but in fiction, three is also a power dynamic; a triangle of potential lust, friction, and evolution. Nowhere is the example of three characters in relationship to each other most powerful than perhaps in the story, The Unbearable Lightness of Being.
Unbearable Lightness by Milan Kundera takes place during the Czech Revolution of 1968 and is the story of a man and the two women he loves.
Tomas is a doctor in Prague who loves women. A man with a huge libido, he enjoys sex with…
Rising Action allows you to connect your readers to your characters and their conflicts through emotion
What experience do you want readers to have, while reading your story? Do you want them to be entertained, delighted, surprised? Do you want to inform or educate people about a particular subject or culture or memory? Do you want to anger them, terrify them, or turn them on?
Knowing what you want your reader to experience will help any author develop their Rising Action.
In the book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, author Robert M. Pirsig created an adventure story, the…
How to create masterful timeframes (including multiples) in your work of fiction
When does your story take place, and does the timeframe or timeframes make sense to your story?
In Jeffrey Eugenides’ Pulitzer Prize winning second novel, Middlesex, the author chose to split the story between two primary timelines: the 1920s and the 1960s/early ‘70s.
The main story in the ’70s only really makes sense at that moment in time — before preteens were likely to be hypersexual and long before today’s gender ambiguities.
Main character Calliope’s gender ambiguities began in 1922, during the Greek/Turkish War, when a recessive mutation…
Creating Characters in Fiction that Readers Connect With, and Root For
Even the most innovative, outlandish, unique characters will fit into certain archetypes. The best characters in fiction will clearly have two archetypal roles. This blog, like our blog about Genre and SubGenre, will help our authors identify the two archetypes their characters each possess.
Much of what we understand about archetypes in literature comes from Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung, who identified 12 major archetypes in people. We’re going to look at some well-loved characters of fiction who fall under the archetype of “Hero”.
The Hero is a common character…
Key to creating the Rising Action of your story’s plot
Conflict isn’t always THE Conflict. Each of our characters will experience some kind of Conflict within your story — some of which directly impacts the plot, while others are more nuanced and subtle. But these are the seven types of Conflict in fiction:
1. Character versus Character: The characters of Gus and Call, Texas Rangers, in Lonesome Dove.
2. Character versus Society: The Help by Kathryn Stockett — the Characters of Skeeter, Aibileen and Minny are in Conflict with the racist attitudes and laws of Civil Rights-era Mississippi.