Apprentice Wordsmith A Writer's Blog

Your World is an Iceberg

A question that every beginning writer asks is, “How much world building information do I need in my story? How much do I need to explain to the reader?” This comes up frequently for writers working in fantasy and science fiction, since world building is an integral part of the process. But every genre of fiction incorporates information about its setting in order to give the reader a sense of place and time period. What might be world building for some is research for others. So even though I’m going to be talking about world building in this post, the advice here can apply to the more realistic and historical genres. Because the question being asked here is not about world building, really. It’s about exposition.

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Use Randomness to Get Unstuck

My last post was pretty heavy, so this time, I want to share a quick, practical tip that you can use today to get a stuck plot moving again.

So your characters are in a sticky situation, and you have no idea what happens next. Or your characters are at point A, and want to get to point B, but you don’t know what happens along the way. Instead of spending hours or days worrying over which one out of hundreds of possibilities would make the most sense or give your story the most awesome points, you can leave it to chance.

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My Writing Style

In January, I posted a short story entitled “The Magic Cat” for feedback on LegendFire. The critique I received inspired me to talk about my writing style here on the blog. It’s more of an advanced topic than what this blog normally covers, but knowing what you want to do and where you want to go with your writing is extremely helpful when dealing with and sorting through criticism. Staying true to those goals will not only bring you satisfaction as an writer, but also a genuine audience for your work.

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My Writing Habit

In January, a new forum member posted a series of questions about others’ writing habits. It’s a great survey, but I’ve missed the opportunity to respond directly to that thread. So I thought this would be a fun addition to the blog.

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The Problem with Inner Problems

If you stick around writer’s circles long enough, you’ll hear some variant of the following axiom:

“Every hero needs both an inner and an outer problem.” – Christopher Vogler, The Writer’s Journey

These days, you’re more likely to see “protagonist” or “main character” instead of “hero”, but the concept remains the same.

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