In 1842 Charles Dickens, in correspondence with Edgar Allan Poe, noted that when the author William Godwin wrote ‘Caleb Williams’ that he wrote backwards. He started by 'first involving his hero in a web of difficulties and then casting about for some mode of accounting for what had been done.' (The Philosophy of Composition 1846) [...]
Anger tells us we don’t like where we have been. It shows us where our boundaries are. It tells us we can no longer get away with the old life and habits. It tells us we are being reborn. There is always a consequence to anger. It should never be acted out - but acted upon. It [...]
Don’t write a detailed outline. Instead, write a list of short sentences. Scott Berkun calls these ‘sentence grenades, phrases loaded with opinions that generate shrapnel in your mind.’ When you read back your notes, you can expect ideas to explode in your mind. How these explode is entirely up to you - there is no [...]
If you find yourself struggling to get words down, you might try clustering, which is when you splatter words about what you need to write on a large piece of paper.
Your outline is a dialogue you have with yourself around the story, helping you to find the structure before you begin to write. It is a map that shows the many different routes you can take to get to the end. It is a guide, not a prison, as brief or detailed as you want [...]
There are only four plot points you need to begin planning your story: The beginning. The end of Act One. The end of Act Two. The end. Once you know these four moments, you can be confident you have all you need to know how to tell your story.
See the story as a journey and draw a map to focus on where the story is going. You will have a bird’s eye view and be able to see what elements matter and what lies outside the journey. How many different routes can you take to the same ending?