mbarker: (BrainUnderRepair)
Writing Excuses 5.19: Fulfilling Promises to Your Readers


Key points: Be careful of memorable, vivid phrases. Beware of a gorilla in a phone booth derailing your story. "Don't put a gorilla in the phone booth if that's not what your story is about." Watch out for "bait and switch" endings (aka deus ex machina). When the rest of the story has built expectations, don't yank the rug out from under them. Ask yourself, "Where am I spending my time?" That is making a promise. Beware deus ex wrench, things going wrong without foreshadowing. Cool twists may break promises, especially when they shift genres. Make sure you have enough foreshadowing, and that if you put a gorilla in the phone booth, you let him call Chekhov by the end.
gorilla costumes? )
[Brandon] This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses... except we need a writing prompt. Howard?
[Howard] OK. Um... promises, promises, promises. All right.
[Brandon] Oh, I made you do it the other time. So you have to do it again. Dan'll do it next time.
[Howard] No, we'll be fine. I'll get this. I just... it's right here on the tip of my tongue. Think of all the times that... in grade school, you or a friend of yours said something and said, "I promise." Any time that a child has made a promise in that sort of a context. Pick a really good... and that usually means in child context, stupid promise that a kid has made. Now use that as the leaping off point for a promise that you're going to keep in a book.
[Brandon] OK. This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses, now go write.
[Howard] I'll be your best friend.
mbarker: (BrainUnderRepair)
Writing Excuses Season Four Episode 27: Major Overhauls to Broken Stories


Key Points: If you are a new writer, just keep writing! Writing group, editor, agent, your own judgment will usually tell you when a book needs work. Identifying that something is wrong and learning writing triage to pick the right thing to fix take lots of practice. Some possible solutions: rearranging things, adding characters or scenes, removing characters or scenes, changing the setting... You can't do everything in one draft -- focus on fixing certain things.
Leave some breadcrumbs... )
[Brandon] Okay, before this goes any further, I'm going to end it and give you your writing prompt. Writing prompt this week is to take a story that you have written before and take one throwaway comment or throwaway concept somewhere in that story... find something that you didn't mean to be important at all. I want you to instead read write that scene, rewrite that chapter, so that that idea becomes the major focus of it, and see what happens.
[Dan] Cool.
[Brandon] All right. This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses, now go write.
mbarker: (Burp)
a.k.a. is that the best they offer?

Haruko, the cute girl, was leaving the house. She had her hat on again, and her bag in her hand. She faced Shigeru, who was standing in the entry way, and said, "Thank you so much. I learned a lot." Shigeru said, "No, no, you really helped me. And... here's your pay. It's not much." He held out an envelope. Haruko said, "No, I couldn't." Shigeru pushed it into her hands. "Take it, you deserve it. And you need to have some money if you're going to live in Tokyo." Haruko took the envelope, with a little bow. Then she looked at him and said, "Yesterday when I got here the future was very black. But now, thanks to you, I think there is some good in it." Shigeru said, "So what's next for you?" She said, "I'll look for some work, and a place to live."
black clouds... )
She sipped the coffee "Tasty!" He grinned, and sipped his. "Great."

As they were drinking the coffee, there was a clatter in the entryway.

<to be continued>
mbarker: (BrainUnderRepair)
Writing Excuses Season Two Episode 29: How Not to End Your Book


Key points: good endings go beyond the reader expects. You need to fulfill promises that you made in the first part of the book. Get help identifying promises that you have made. Avoid the third act Hollywood wimpout -- big action set pieces are not automatically good endings. A book in a series should fulfill its promises while opening up new problems for the future. Make your plots fit your books first. Bad endings usually mean bad foreshadowing. Revise to fit.
the meat )
[Brandon] This has been Writing Excuses. Writing prompt?
[Dan] Write an ending in which everybody dies and it works.
[Brandon] Start your book with an ending where everyone dies. This has been Writing Excuses. Thanks for listening.

May 2017

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