Have Your Characters Write Their Own Autobiographies

When fleshing out your characters, have each one write a short autobiography in their own voice about their lives prior to the beginning of the story, touching on key turning points, memories of special events – both cheerful and tragic, and of the people who meant/mean the most to them.

What are their biggest disappointments, narrowest escapes, greatest triumphs, deepest regrets?

Have them tell you, the author, about their hobbies, religious and political views, hopes, and dreams.

And finally, have your character each write about how the people and events in your story appear to and affect them, from their unique point of view and position in your story.

In this way, your character development will become more organic and more informed.

Keep in mind, however, that our sense of our own selves is usually quite different from how others see us. So, it is a good idea to make sure each character writes about the others in terms of whether they trust them, what they think is their greatest strength, most detrimental weakness, and must fun/frustrating trait. This will not only illuminate how each character sees the others, but how the others see them.

And finally, when you actually sit down to write your characters, don’t just approach them from your author’s view as to what you need/want them to do in the plot, but stand in their shoes and try to understand why they do these things. Is it easy or hard for them to do what they do, compatible or contrary to their nature, and what personal costs or benefits will their actions bring them?

In the end, never forget that we are each the main character or our own personal story, even when we are playing a subordinate role in a larger story involving many others.

Read more writing tips at Storymind.com, the Creative Writing Tips web site.

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Have Your Characters Write Their Own Autobiographies

When fleshing out your characters, have each one write a short autobiography in their own voice about their lives prior to the beginning of the story, touching on key turning points, memories of special events – both cheerful and tragic, and of the people who meant/mean the most to them.

What are their biggest disappointments, narrowest escapes, greatest triumphs, deepest regrets?

Have them tell you, the author, about their hobbies, religious and political views, hopes, and dreams.

And finally, have your character each write about how the people and events in your story appear to and affect them, from their unique point of view and position in your story.

In this way, your character development will become more organic and more informed.

Keep in mind, however, that our sense of our own selves is usually quite different from how others see us. So, it is a good idea to make sure each character writes about the others in terms of whether they trust them, what they think is their greatest strength, most detrimental weakness, and must fun/frustrating trait. This will not only illuminate how each character sees the others, but how the others see them.

And finally, when you actually sit down to write your characters, don’t just approach them from your author’s view as to what you need/want them to do in the plot, but stand in their shoes and try to understand why they do these things. Is it easy or hard for them to do what they do, compatible or contrary to their nature, and what personal costs or benefits will their actions bring them?

In the end, never forget that we are each the main character or our own personal story, even when we are playing a subordinate role in a larger story involving many others.

Read more writing tips at Storymind.com, the Creative Writing Tips web site.

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Story Structure is Based on Fours, Not Twos

Story structure is built on fours, not on twos.  Though it may seem like conflict is created between two opposing forces, there are two other forces at play as well.

Consider a dramatic circuit consisting of four elements: Potential, Resistance, Current, and Power – just like an electrical circuit.

Every scene has all four elements and if one is missing, the circuit is incomplete and the story won’t flow.

But there’s more to it than that.  These four elements have a relationship that we see in many areas of life.

Here are some other sets of four that create the same kind of internal mechanism:

  • Earth, Water, Wind, Fire
  • Noun, Verb, Adjective, Adverb
  • Red, Blue, Green, Brightness
  • Universe, Physics, Mind, Psychology
  • Mass, Energy, Space, Time
  • Characters, Plot, Theme, Genre
  • Motivation, Method, Evaluation, Purpose

As you can see, each group of four has a very similar feel.  And the last item in each set seems a little out of place compared to the other three.

There’s an important psychological reason for that, but it would require going way too deep for this post.  For now, just know that stories reflect how we think, and we think in four dimensions because we perceive four dimensions.  So, it is no surprise that story structure is also based on fours, because that is the way we fully explore a topic in fiction or in life.

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The Four Stages of Story Development

Each day we post another step in the StoryWeaver method. Follow along to develop your novel step by step or jump ahead with the StoryWeaver app on our web site at Storymind.com

Today’s Step: The Four Stages of Story Development

Writers often begin the story development process by thinking about what their story needs: a main character/protagonist/hero, a solid theme, a riveting plot and, of course, to meet all the touch points of their genre.

Because this is just the beginning of the process, they usually don’t have much of that worked out yet. And so, they are faced with the daunting task of figuring out their story’s world, who’s in it, what happens to them, and what it all means before they even write a word. This can throw a writer into creative gridlock right out of the gate and can get so frustrating that the Muse completely deserts them.

Fortunately, there’s a better way. Rather than asking what the story needs, we can turn it around and ask what the author needs. What is the most comfortable sequence of activities that will lead a writer from concept to completion of their novel or screenplay?

As varied a lot as we writers are, there are certain fundamental phases we all go through when coming to our stories. In fact, we can arrange the entire creative process into four distinct stages:

  1. Inspiration
  2. Development
  3. Exposition
  4. Storytelling

The Inspiration Stage begins the moment we have an idea for a story. This might be an overall concept (computer geeks are transported to the old west), a plot twist (a detective discovers he is investigating his own murder), a character situation (Ponce de Leon still lives today), a thematic topic (fracking), a character study (an aging rock star who is losing his licks) a line of dialog (“Just cuz somthin’s free don’t mean you didn’t buy it.”), a title (Too Old To Die Young) or any other creative notion that makes you think, that’s a good idea for a story!

What gets the hair on your writerly tail to stand up isn’t important. Whatever it is, you are in the Inspiration Stage and it lasts as long as new ideas flow like spring runoff. You might add characters, specific events in your plot or even write a chapter or two. A very lucky writer never gets out of this stage and just keeps on going until the novel is completely written and sent out for publication.

Alas, for most of us, the Muse vanishes somewhere along the line, and we find ourselves staring at the all-too-familiar blank page wondering where to go from here. Where we go is to Stage Two: Development.

In the Development Stage we stand back and take a long critical look at our story so far. We now have quite a few ideas and there are likely sections that are ready to write, or perhaps you’ve already written some. But there may be other areas that are a bit lean or even downright sketchy, hanging by only the thinnest of story threads.

What’s needed now is to grow each of those ideas to add more substance. So, story point by story point we add richness and detail until every notion we generated in Inspiration has become a fully developed concept. What’s there looks good, but what about what isn’t there?

Even though each idea is now fully formed, in between them may be story holes, both small and gaping, and breaks in logic when what happens first makes no sense in connection to what happens later. Then there might be characters that don’t ring true, unresolved conflicts, and expressed emotions that seem to come out of nowhere.

And so, the work begins – filling the space between your ideas and trying to make them all fit in the same story. By the end of the development stage, you’ll have added detail and richness to your story and added all the pieces needed to fill the gaps.

Eventually (thank Providence) you’ll have fully developed your ideas and plugged all the leaks. But what you have now is more like a box of snarled threads than a fabric. The pieces are all there but they aren’t yet working together. You realize you need to integrate your individual ideas so they can work in concert. You also realize you have quite unawares stumbled into Stage Three: Exposition.

Exposition isn’t just about revealing story points to your readers or audience. It is even more about pulling all of those threads together so they become a yarn.

Here you will consider how one story point affects another, and how plot impacts character impacts theme impacts genre. Stories are holistic, and every piece should inform all the rest and, conversely, be informed by all the rest. In this way, your story becomes organic and transcends the pieces from which it is made.

And when you have all that figured out, you are ready to begin the final stage: Storytelling.

Storytelling is more than word play and style. It is also about deciding how to weave the threads of your story as it unfolds. Scene by scene or chapter by chapter you’ll lay out the arcs of your characters and their relationships with one another, you’ll carry your plot through twists and turns, you’ll subtly build your theme into a powerful message, and you’ll grow your genre into a unique reader or audience experience.

And lastly, before we send our creation out into the world, we writers shift and substitute and polish until (almost regretfully) we let it go, just like a parent bundling up a child for the first day of school. StoryWeaver can’t help you find the resolve to write “The End,” but as Da Vinci is credited with saying, “Art is never finished, only abandoned.”

Drop by tomorrow for the next step or jump ahead with our StoryWeaver app at Storymind.com

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The Four Stages of Story Development

Each day we post another step in the StoryWeaver method. Follow along to develop your novel step by step or jump ahead with the StoryWeaver app on our web site at Storymind.com

Today’s Step: The Four Stages of Story Development

Writers often begin the story development process by thinking about what their story needs: a main character/protagonist/hero, a solid theme, a riveting plot and, of course, to meet all the touch points of their genre.

Because this is just the beginning of the process, they usually don’t have much of that worked out yet. And so, they are faced with the daunting task of figuring out their story’s world, who’s in it, what happens to them, and what it all means before they even write a word. This can throw a writer into creative gridlock right out of the gate and can get so frustrating that the Muse completely deserts them.

Fortunately, there’s a better way. Rather than asking what the story needs, we can turn it around and ask what the author needs. What is the most comfortable sequence of activities that will lead a writer from concept to completion of their novel or screenplay?

As varied a lot as we writers are, there are certain fundamental phases we all go through when coming to our stories. In fact, we can arrange the entire creative process into four distinct stages:

  1. Inspiration
  2. Development
  3. Exposition
  4. Storytelling

The Inspiration Stage begins the moment we have an idea for a story. This might be an overall concept (computer geeks are transported to the old west), a plot twist (a detective discovers he is investigating his own murder), a character situation (Ponce de Leon still lives today), a thematic topic (fracking), a character study (an aging rock star who is losing his licks) a line of dialog (“Just cuz somthin’s free don’t mean you didn’t buy it.”), a title (Too Old To Die Young) or any other creative notion that makes you think, that’s a good idea for a story!

What gets the hair on your writerly tail to stand up isn’t important. Whatever it is, you are in the Inspiration Stage and it lasts as long as new ideas flow like spring runoff. You might add characters, specific events in your plot or even write a chapter or two. A very lucky writer never gets out of this stage and just keeps on going until the novel is completely written and sent out for publication.

Alas, for most of us, the Muse vanishes somewhere along the line, and we find ourselves staring at the all-too-familiar blank page wondering where to go from here. Where we go is to Stage Two: Development.

In the Development Stage we stand back and take a long critical look at our story so far. We now have quite a few ideas and there are likely sections that are ready to write, or perhaps you’ve already written some. But there may be other areas that are a bit lean or even downright sketchy, hanging by only the thinnest of story threads.

What’s needed now is to grow each of those ideas to add more substance. So, story point by story point we add richness and detail until every notion we generated in Inspiration has become a fully developed concept. What’s there looks good, but what about what isn’t there?

Even though each idea is now fully formed, in between them may be story holes, both small and gaping, and breaks in logic when what happens first makes no sense in connection to what happens later. Then there might be characters that don’t ring true, unresolved conflicts, and expressed emotions that seem to come out of nowhere.

And so, the work begins – filling the space between your ideas and trying to make them all fit in the same story. By the end of the development stage, you’ll have added detail and richness to your story and added all the pieces needed to fill the gaps.

Eventually (thank Providence) you’ll have fully developed your ideas and plugged all the leaks. But what you have now is more like a box of snarled threads than a fabric. The pieces are all there but they aren’t yet working together. You realize you need to integrate your individual ideas so they can work in concert. You also realize you have quite unawares stumbled into Stage Three: Exposition.

Exposition isn’t just about revealing story points to your readers or audience. It is even more about pulling all of those threads together so they become a yarn.

Here you will consider how one story point affects another, and how plot impacts character impacts theme impacts genre. Stories are holistic, and every piece should inform all the rest and, conversely, be informed by all the rest. In this way, your story becomes organic and transcends the pieces from which it is made.

And when you have all that figured out, you are ready to begin the final stage: Storytelling.

Storytelling is more than word play and style. It is also about deciding how to weave the threads of your story as it unfolds. Scene by scene or chapter by chapter you’ll lay out the arcs of your characters and their relationships with one another, you’ll carry your plot through twists and turns, you’ll subtly build your theme into a powerful message, and you’ll grow your genre into a unique reader or audience experience.

And lastly, before we send our creation out into the world, we writers shift and substitute and polish until (almost regretfully) we let it go, just like a parent bundling up a child for the first day of school. StoryWeaver can’t help you find the resolve to write “The End,” but as Da Vinci is credited with saying, “Art is never finished, only abandoned.”

Drop by tomorrow for the next step or jump ahead with our StoryWeaver app at Storymind.com

Posted in StoryWeaver Software | Comments Off on The Four Stages of Story Development

Introduction to the StoryWeaver Process

Each day we post another step in the StoryWeaver process. Follow along to develop your novel step by step or jump ahead with the StoryWeaver app on our web site at Storymind.com

Today’s Step: Introduction to the StoryWeaver Process

For most authors, the hardest part of writing is the raw invention needed to come up with an intriguing plot, compelling characters, a meaningful theme, and an involving genre. Once you have that all worked out, the actual writing is the fun part.

StoryWeaver employs an inspired new technique that starts with your original story concept and draws story threads from it, twisting them to add texture, spinning them into yarns to add context, then weaving them into the fabric of your story. And it does this step by step so you always know what to do now and then what to do next.

There are four stages in StoryWeaver’s story creation path, and you can see them as the top-level categories in the navigation menu to the right (or just below this text on smaller screens).

They are:

Inspiration

Development

Exposition

Storytelling

The Inspiration Stage helps you draw new story threads for your plot, characters, theme and genre from your original concept.

The Development Stage twists those threads to deepen and expand your ideas into greater detail.

The Exposition Stage helps you spin your ideas together into a full bodied yarn.

The Storytelling Stage weaves everything that happens in your story as it unfolds over time.

By the end of the path, you’ll have a completed story, fully developed and expertly told.

Drop by tomorrow for the next step or jump ahead with our StoryWeaver app at Storymind.com

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50 Sure-Fire Storytelling Tricks | Number 1

Trick 1

Building Size (Changing Scope)

This first technique holds audience interest by revealing the true size of something over the course of the story until it can be seen to be either larger or smaller than it originally appeared. This makes things appear to grow or diminish as the story unfolds.

Conspiracy stories are usually good examples of increasing scope, as only the tip of the iceberg first comes to light and the full extent is ultimately much bigger. The motion picture All The President’s Men illustrates this nicely. Stories about things being less extensive than they originally appear are not unlike The Wizard Of Oz in which a seemingly huge network of power turns out to be just one man behind a curtain.

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The Structure of Plot

Story Structure | The Structure of Plot

Most authors think of plot as what their story is about. And beyond that, they recognize key events and turning points in the story that are part of plot as well. That’s a good place to start, because it is how plot appears from the creative perspective as you are developing and writing your story.

But plot is quite a bit more than that. Structurally, a plot needs specific story points such as a goal, requirements that need to be met to achieve that goal, and even the price that will be paid if the goal is not met.

In this installment of our series on story structure, we’re going to reveal the key story points of plot and lay out the structural timeline as well.

By the time we’re done, you’ll have a much more refined understanding of what plot structure is, and how to manipulate it to create just the kind of story you want.

Let’s begin with the four most important plot points: Goal, Requirements, Consequences, and Forewarnings. All four of these work together to define what your story is about, what needs to be done, and what happens if the protagonist fails. Taken all together, these are the control knobs that adjust your plot’s dramatic tension.

Let’s investigate each of these four primary plot points:

Goal is really about as straight-forward as it seems: what the characters of your story are trying to achieve. Now, keep in mind that the protagonist is leader of the effort to achieve the goal. And, as we all know, there’s also going to be an antagonist who is working against the protagonist, either to prevent the goal from being achieved, or to achieve it for himself instead.

Without a goal, there is no clear cut destination your characters are trying to reach. So, you’ll need to describe that goal in no uncertain terms of your story will come off as unfocused and without a defined purpose. To your readers (or audience) it will seem to meander.

What kinds of things can be a goal? Just about anything: To escape from something or someone, to complete a task, to obtain something (could be a treasure, a diploma, or someone’s love), to discover something, to become a better person, to come to terms with the past. Really, almost anything can be a goal. It just needs to be something you don’t currently have, and can’t get just by snapping your fingers – you have to work for it.

Requirements describe the specific steps that must be taken or the necessary conditions that must be met for the goal to be achieved. If any step or condition is not completed, the goal will not be achieved.

Why are requirements important? Without them, your characters (and readers) have no idea what is needed to arrive at the goal. So, everything that happens seems arbitrary. And if they are ultimately successful, it comes off as if the characters just magically achieved the goal – it just happened, not because they worked to make it happen, but just because after running around in all kinds of directions, eventually the goal just plopped down in their lap for no apparent reason.

Like goals, requirements can be all kinds of things: getting the approval of all the members of the board of directors to stop an immoral project, gathering all the ingredients for the secret formula to saving the dying princess, searching the rooms in a haunted house to find an close the portal to hell, meeting the conditions necessary to prove you are worthy of someone’s love.

The key point in regard to requirements is that they be a limited set – a specific number of items or steps, well-delineated right up front, so the reader knows exactly what conditions must be met and can, therefore, track progress toward the goal.

Consequences are the bad things that will happen if the goal is not achieved. Why are consequences necessary? Because they double the motivation to achieve the goal. Without consequences, characters, just like real people, are likely at some point to say, “Hey, that goal would’ve been nice, but geesh, these requirements are just too darn hard. That goal ain’t worth it!”

But, with consequences in place, there is a price to pay if you just give up on the goal. If the goal isn’t achieved, you (and/or those you care about) will suffer. Achieving the goal not only obtains a good thing, but also prevents a bad one. And that is why your characters will push on to the end.

Forewarnings are the indicators that the consequences are gaining on you. They could be cracks in the dam that show it is getting closer to the consequence of it breaking and flooding the town if the goal of diverting the water upstream isn’t achieved or some unknown individual buying up more and more shares of stock until the consequence of him gaining control of the company prevents you from the goal of stopping an evil project.

As with requirements, forewarnings need to be clearly specified, but they don’t have to be a specific number of them. For example, how many cracks does it take before the dam breaks? With forewarnings, additional cracks, small pieces of concrete popping out, shuddering do to increasing instability, all these things can indicate the dam is getting closer to breaking, and collectively they ratchet up the motivation for the characters to push harder and faster because time and/or options are running out.

You can easily see how Goal, Requirements, Consequences, and Forewarnings work together as the master controllers of any plot’s structure.

These are the four power-drivers of the plot. However, there are many other plot points that fine tune how the dramatic tension of the Big Four is channeled through your story. But that is a subject for a future installment in our ongoing series on story structure.

This entire story structure series is referenced from our book on the subject that we published way back in 1991, Dramatica: A New Theory Of Story.  Just click on the link to read it for free in a downloadable PDF.

Also, you may wish to try our Dramatica Story Structure Software with the world’s only patented interactive Story Engine. The Story Engine cross-references your answers to questions about your story to generate a structure that perfectly supports your intent, free of holes or inconsistencies.

Until next time, May the Muse be with you!

Melanie Anne Phillips
Creator, StoryWeaver
Co-creator, Dramatica

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Avoiding the Genre Trap

A common misconception sees genre as a fixed list of dramatic requirements or a rigid structural template from which there can be no deviation. Writers laboring under these restrictions often find themselves boxed-in creatively. They become snared in the Genre Trap, cranking out stories that are indistinguishable from a whole crop of their contemporaries

In fact, genre should be a fluid and organic entity that grows from each story individually. Such stories are surprising, notable, memorable, and involving. In this article, you’ll learn a new flexible technique for creating stories that are unique within their genres.

How We Fall Into the Genre Trap

The first step in escaping from the Genre Trap is to understand how we fall into it in the first place. Consider how wrapped up you become in the details of your story. You slave over every plot point, struggle to empathize with every one of your characters, and perhaps even grieve over the effort to instill a passionate theme.

The problem is, you become so buried in the elements of your story that you lose sight of what it feels like as a whole. So while every piece may work individually, the overall impact may be fragmented, incomplete, or inconsistent. To avoid this, we fall back on “proven” structures of successful stories in a similar genre. We cut out parts of our story that don’t fit that template, and add new sections to fill the gaps. We snip and hammer until our story follows along the dotted lines.

And lo and behold, we have fallen into the genre trap – taking our original new idea and making it just like somebody else’s old idea. Sure, the trappings are different. Our characters have different names. The big battle between good and evil takes place in a roller rink instead of a submarine. But underneath it all, the mood, timber, and feel of our story is just like the hundred others stamped out in the same genre mold.

A New Definition of Genre

Rather than thinking of your story as a structure, a template, or a genre, stand back a bit and look at your story as it appears to your reader or audience. To them, every story has a personality of its own, almost as if it were a human being. From this perspective, stories fall into personality types, just like real people.

When you meet someone for the first time, you might initially classify them as a Nerd, a Bully, a Wisecracker, a Philanthropist, or a Thinker.

These, of course, are just first impressions, and if you get the chance to spend some time with each person, you begin to discover a number of traits and quirks that set them apart from any other individual in that personality type.

Similarly, when you encounter a story for the first time, you likely classify it as a Western, a Romance, a Space Opera, or a Buddy Picture. Essentially, you see the personality of the story as a Stereotype.

At first, stories are easy to classify because you know nothing about them but the basic broad strokes. But as a story unfolds, it reveals its own unique qualities that transform it from another faceless tale in the crowd to a one-of-a-kind experience with its own identity.

At least, that is what it ought to do. But if you have fallen into the Genre Trap, you actually edit out all the elements that make your story different and add others that make it the same. All in the name of the Almighty Genre Templates.

How to Avoid the Genre Trap

Avoiding the Genre Trap is not only easy, but creatively inspiring as well! The process can begin at the very start of your story’s development (though you can apply this technique for re-writes as well).

Step One – Choosing Genres:

Make a list of all the Stereotypical Genres that have elements you might want to include in the story you are currently developing. For example, you might want to consider aspects of a Western, a Space Opera, a Romance, and a Horror Story.

Step Two – Listing Genre Elements:

List all the elements of each of these genres that intrigue you in general. For example:

Western – Brawl in the Saloon, Showdown Gunfight, Chase on Horseback, Lost Gold Mine, Desert, Indians.

Space Opera – Time Warp, Laser Battle, Exploding Planet, Alien Race, Spaceship Battle, Ancient Ruins.

Romance – Boy Meets Girl, Boy Loses Girl, Boy Gets Girl, Misunderstanding alienates Boy and Girl, Rival for Girl throws out Misinformation, Last Minute Reveal of the Truth leading to Joyful Reunion.

Horror Story – Series of Grizzly and Inventive Murders, The Evil Gradually Closes in on the Heroes, Scary Isolated Location, Massive Rainstorm with Lightning and Thunder.

(Note that some genre elements are about setting, some about action, and some about character relationships. That’s why it is so hard to say what genre is. And it is also why looking at genre, as a story’s Personality Type is so useful.

Step Three – Selecting Genre Elements:

From the lists of elements you have created, pick and choose elements from each of the genres that you might like to actually include in your story.

For example, from Western you might want Lost Gold Mine, Desert, and Indians. From Space Opera you might choose Spaceship Battle, Exploding Planet and Alien Race. Romance would offer up all the elements you had listed: Boy Meets Girl, Boy Loses Girl, Boy Gets Girl, Misunderstanding alienates Boy and Girl, Rival for Girl throws our Misinformation, Last Minute Reveal of the Truth leading to Joyful Reunion. And finally, from Horror Story you might select Scary Isolated Location, Massive Rainstorm with Lightning and Thunder.

Step Four – Cross Pollinating Genres:

From this Master List of Genre Elements that you might like to include in your story, see if any of the elements from one genre have a tie-in with those from another genre.

For example, Indians from the Western and Alien Race from the Space Opera could become a race of aliens on a planet that share many of the qualities of the American Indian. And, the relationship between the boy and the girl easily becomes a Romeo and Juliet saga of a human boy colonizing the planet who falls in love with an alien girl.

Step Five – Peppering Your Story with Genre Elements:

Once you’ve chosen your elements and cross-pollinated others, you need to determine where in your story to place them. If you are stuck in a Genre Trap, there is a tendency to try and get all the genre elements working right up front so that the genre is clear to the reader/audience.

This is like trying to know everything there is to discover about a person as soon as you meet him or her. It is more like a resume than an introduction. The effect is to overload the front end of the story with more information than can be assimilated, and have nowhere left to go when the reader/audience wants to get to know the story’s personality better as the story unfolds.

So, make a timeline of the key story points in your plot. Add in any principal character moments of growth, discovery, or conflict. Now, into that timeline pepper the genre elements you have developed for your story.

For example, you might decide to end with a massive spaceship battle, or you could choose to open with one. The information about the Alien Race being like the America Indians might be right up front in the Teaser, or you could choose to reveal it in the middle of the second act as a pivotal turning point in the story.

Because genre elements are often atmospheric in nature, they can frequently be placed just about anywhere without greatly affecting the essential flow of the plot or the pace of character growth.

As you look at your timeline, you can see and control the reader’s first impressions of the story genre. And you can anticipate the ongoing mood changes in your story’s feel as additional elements in its personality are revealed, scene-by-scene or chapter-by-chapter.

What about Re-writes?

Not everyone wants to start a story with genre development. In fact, you might want to go through an entire draft and then determine what genre elements you’d like to add to what you already have.

The process is the same. Just list the genres that have elements you might wish to include. List the elements in each that intrigue you. Select the ones that would fit nicely into your story. Cross-Pollinate where you can. Pepper them into your existing timeline to fill gaps where the story bogs down and to reveal your story as a unique personality.

Summing Up the Sum of the Parts

Genre is part setting, part action, part character, and part story-telling style. Trying to follow a fixed template turns your story into just another clone. But by recognizing that genre is really a story’s personality type, you can make it as individual as you like. And by peppering your elements throughout your story’s timeline, you will create first impressions that will capture your reader or audience and then hold their interest as your story’s one-of-a-kind personality reveals itself

Melanie Anne Phillips
Creator, StoryWeaver
Co-creator, Dramatica

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Story Structure Ruins Everything!

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