Authors Answer 140 – Developing Plot

I Read Encyclopedias for Fun

You need characters and setting for a story, but what would it be without a plot? Not much of anything. The plot may be one of the most complex parts of writing. A good plot isn’t predictable and straightforward. There may be multiple story lines running through the plot, but they all lead to one conclusion. So, how do we develop our plots?

Question 140 – How do you develop the plot of your stories?

Eric Wood

To develop a plot I sketch it out much like an artist would. An artist might draw out the art piece in pencil with very light strokes that are easily covered. I sketch out the plot of my stories with short words, a few descriptions, and random ideas to that come to me. It’s when I sit down to write the story in full that I then fill in details and move the…

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Authors Answer 139 – Developing Setting

I Read Encyclopedias for Fun

Last week, we talked about characters. But now they need a place. A well-rounded book has a setting. A good setting can create the atmosphere, whether it’s a real place or imagined. Real places are already established for the author, but they have to know it well. Imagined places require world building, and that can be a complex process. How do our authors tackle setting?

Question 139 – How do you develop the setting of your stories?

Gregory S. Close

I develop setting the same way that I develop characters, by establishing a history, economics, rules, laws, mores, religions, geography, species etcetera and then strictly adhering to that until I need to ignore it, modify it, or do whatever else serves the story best. There were a lot of things for In Siege of Daylight that shifted or changed altogether as the story came together, but having the solid foundation…

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Writing Glitch #478

Today’s glitch:

Change the comma after time machine to a period and capitalize However.

Did you spot the typo? Change turnign to turning.

I suggest changing have managed to create to just have created.

Scientists have created the world’s first time machine. However, it can only send messages to itself in the past. Within seconds of the machine being turned on, messages of warning begin to flood in from the future.

(Ah, quantum entanglement… This scenario is plausible, you know.) 



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Writing Glitch #477

Today’s glitch:

If you’re going to add extra letters to so and stretch it out (do this only in dialogue/first-person narration, imitating how the character says it), add a sufficient number of them that it won’t be confused with a different word: sooo, for example.

Change the comma after move to a period. 

You we’re? As in, a contraction of You we are? *shakes head* Get rid to the apostrophe and make that were.

“It sooo was a move. You were trying to hit on me!”


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Writing Glitch #476

Today’s glitch: 

Oh, boy…

First, we don’t capitalize the second word in a scientific name (binomial nomenclature). Second, we do italicize such scientific names.

We don’t capitalize the common names, though.

Add a comma after Arum maculatum, get rid of the comma after also known, and add an apostrophe to adder’s tongue. Add a comma after adder’s tongue.

Don’t use an ampersand (&) in normal prose except for where it appears in a proper name. (It is correct to write, “My kid sister plays Dungeons & Dragons,” because that’s how the title of that game is written, but it is not correct to write, “I like peanut butter & jelly sandwiches.”)

Add it is to the introductory adverbial phrase (betcha didn’t know if is an adverb, did you?) If ingested to make it say If it is ingested, because otherwise the sentence says the symptoms are what may be ingested, and that’s just weird.

Arum maculatum, also known as adder’s tongue, is one of the most toxic wild plants. It smells of rotten meat. If it is ingested, symptoms include irritation of the mouth and tongue, swelling of the throat, difficulty breathing, burning pain, upset stomach, and intense convulsions followed by death. Medicinal purposes include treating sore throats and rheumatic pain, and removing freckles and blemishes.


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Authors Answer 138 – Developing Characters

I Read Encyclopedias for Fun

Characters are central to a story. They need to be well-developed and believable to be considered good characters in a serious story. It’s important to make sure their behaviour is consistent. We’re going back to basics this month, talking about the development of stories. This week, it’s characters.

Question 138 – How do you develop the characters of your stories?

H. Anthe Davis

Jeez, I don’t know… I’m five books into a series, so at this point when I introduce a new character, I usually I have a vague idea of what I need from them (antagonist or ally? from which faction? which gender, which skills?), and then I spin details off of that base, trying not to duplicate traits from other characters. Then I write them into scenes with other established characters and figure out how they interact, and either expand upon them if it’s an interesting dynamic, or…

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Writing glitch #475

Today’s second glitch:

Add a comma after the introductory adverbial phrase After years of stress.

Don’t capitalize hero; it’s a common noun, not a proper name.

In the second sentence, change to the eyes to in the eyes

Unless you mean that the person who comes to save the city never suspected this, either, change suspecting to expected.

There’s a typo in the second sentence, too: comea should be comes.

Change the period after city to a colon, and don’t capitalize the or villain.

After years of stress, the hero snaps and goes crazy, destroying everything in his path. Unbelievably in the eyes of the citizens, the least expected person comes to save the city: the villain.

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