Tag Archives: tension

Villains, part two (Encore)

This is the second installment of Villains, Virgins and Vigilantes. Just How Mean Is Mean Enough? Remember, we’re still working on the first “V” in our Villains, Virgins, and Vigilantes hierarchy. Presumably, you have a working version of your villain, … Continue reading

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Virgins are people, too! (Encore)

What? Virgins are people, too? Of course they are! They’re also a primary category in my conglomerated approach to the characters of popular fiction: Villains, Virgins, and Vigilantes. Who could take a look at dear, sweet Nell — Dudley Do-Right’s … Continue reading

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Does your hero have hay fever?

Huh? Why would that make a difference? Why would someone even ask such a question? Bear with me. This all goes back to an article in The British Journal of Homeopathy, Volume 29, published in 1872. It included the following … Continue reading

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Death, Doom, and Destruction

I am often suspicious of action movies. They’re not bad, as a genre. Far from it. I’ve seen some wonderful action films, and I would gladly watch them over again. But for me, that list is pretty short. I’m content … Continue reading

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Characters with… character. Part 3 of 3

We’re moving into the final lap of this character creation exercise. In case you missed the first two parts you can find them here and here. If you’ve been scribbling stuff down about your character, then this process will have … Continue reading

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Ya gotta have heart

Though clichéd, it’s true that the building blocks of a good novel are the scenes. I imagine if one looked hard enough it would be possible to find a novel with neither scene nor chapter breaks, but it would definitely … Continue reading

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Tension: We’ll be right back, after this…

Tension is (or should be) a writer’s stock in trade. It’s what causes readers to stay up late to “finish just one more” page, scene, chapter, part, or volume of your epic–be it fiction or something else. Tension is shorthand for … Continue reading

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Countering the memoir’s kiss of death

When talking to my students (and clients) about their memoirs, I notice we all tend to avoid the 800-pound gorilla in the garret: boredom. Sadly, far too many of the memoirs being produced today suffer from this condition. They just … Continue reading

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Drama in a memoir?

There’s drama in life, so why not in the documentation of a life as well? We’ve all experienced moments where an outcome wasn’t guaranteed. The concept isn’t limited to sports or warfare. Who hasn’t taken a test of some kind, … Continue reading

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