Hank, the author of more than twenty books, tells you how to write your story. He believes that stories come from the melding of three elements: getting ideas, story design, and story-telling. Ideas have to come from the author. CREATING STORIES covers the last two.
The book concentrates on developing characters including such rarely discussed requirements such as a dominant reader emotion and the character’s biography.
Plots are also covered in depth and a number of graphics are included to illustrate complex points. Another topic discusses subplots and how to utilize them and how to nest them within the main plot.
A separate chapter discusses the relationship between the plot and the emotional arcs.
Other topics covered are character arcs, scene design, point-of-view, writing voice.
About The Author
Hank Quense writes humorous and satiric sci-fi and fantasy stories.
He also writes and lectures about fiction writing and self-publishing. He has published 19 books and 50 short stories along with dozens of articles. He often lectures on fiction writing and publishing and has a series of guides covering the basics on each subject. He is currently working on a third Moxie novel that takes place in the Camelot era.
He and his wife, Pat, usually vacation in another galaxy or parallel universe. They also time travel occasionally when Hank is searching for new story ideas.
From Chapter 3 of Creating Stories
As you build the characters, you may notice that limitations crop up. A character can’t do what you want him to do because he is too old. An elderly person, for instance, can’t do many things a younger person can do. You are becoming limited in what you, the author, can do and what your characters can do or can not do. These limitations or restrictions will also occur with plotting and motivation. The more the story design develops, the less freedom you and your characters have. As an example, if you build a character’s physical aspects so that he has a serious limp, you can’t have him outrunning the bad guy. Similarly, if your character dropped out of high school, he can’t use the laws of thermodynamics to develop the solution to the plot problem. This is one huge advantage to building a complete biography; it gives you a better understanding of what the character is capable of doing.
A biography for the character serves a dual purpose. Besides providing background information, it allows the author to understand the character and that understanding is vital when dealing with the character in stressful situations.
For a short-story character, I write a few paragraphs of bio material. For the main character in a novel, the bio may run to more than a page. Other novel characters will get less of a bio. The less important the character, the smaller the bio I create.
The strange thing to many new story writers is this: most of the biographical material won’t show up in the story so why bother developing it? The answer is that the bio allows the writer to understand the character and what makes him or her tick. The better the writer knows and understands the character, the better the writer will be able to predict how the character will respond to situations and stimuli.
For instance, suppose someone walks up to your character and punches him in the mouth, or a beautiful woman kisses him. How does your character react to the punch? Does he punch back? Does he walk away? How does the character react to the kiss? Does he get red in the face? Does he kiss her back? Does he develop a stammer? Your detailed biography will guide you in writing the character’s response. If you don’t have the bio material, the character‘s response is really a guess. In addition, the writer will have difficulty keeping the character’s response consistent when other situations occur. Your second guess may be different from your first guess. Believe me, the readers will pick up on it.
There are a number of biographical elements the writer should address.
Family: Are his parents alive? Does the character have any siblings? What is everyone’s age? Are any siblings married? Where did the character grow up? Did the character have any unusual childhood experiences? What were they? Do these experiences affect the character? Is the character’s family stable? Or is it chaotic? How does this affect him?
Education: Schools, degrees, favorite subject?
Career: Jobs, military experience?
Adult experiences: Married? Divorced? Children?
It’s the author’s job to come up with events that will affect the character’s life and outlook.
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If you have any questions or comments on this material, leave a note and I’ll respond.
This tour-wide giveaway is for five (5) eBooks of and three (3) print copies of the author’s (U.S. entries only). The prizes are courtesy of the publisher. The giveaway will end at 12 a.m. (EST) on Tuesday, April 18.
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Thanks for stopping by today. Be sure to check out Hank’s book.