Category Archives: Creative Writing

Articles, projects, theories, and processes.

Mystery, Horror, Suspense

Distinguish between mystery, horror, and suspense:

“In a mystery you might find out that a person was beheaded. This occurs before the narrative begins, so the focus of the story is on solving the crime. If you’re writing a horror story, you’ll show the beheading itself—in all of its gory detail. If you’re writing suspense, the characters in the story will find out that someone is going to be beheaded, and they must find a way to stop it.”

/ Elements of Suspense in Writing: 6 Secrets to Creating and Sustaining Suspense – Writer’s Digest

Wild Talent

Wild Talent:

“Tech level is irrelevant: a TL 3 monk could make an IQ-roll to use Computer Programming…”

GURPS 4e, Basic Set, p. 99

In the year of Our Lord, 1143, on a day as dark and as deep as the nethermost recesses of purgatory, a calamitous storm threw the land into turmoil and dread. My despair was without end and limit but held at bay as visions, I dared hope, sent from Our Lord Himself came over me. My quill danced over the parchment and the script that was produced I named, with the guidance, I was lead to believe, of divine inspiration, a JavaScript. And its contents portrayed such an arcane contraption that would hold the promise of connection with the glorious heavens above! But alas! This channel was promised only through the deployment of the mysterious, I daresay unholy demonic, powers of the Lord Ajax, master of indirection and slayer of submission! Save us Great Lord for the days of single page application are upon us! No longer will a book be a book, for can it be called a book if a book has but a single page? This must surely be a vision of the end of days, the demise of reason, and the eclipse of the minds of men.

If your book isn’t good enough, you aren’t close enough

“If your picture isn’t good enough, you aren’t close enough.”

Robert Capa, War Photographer

Get what he means?

Can you see him with his camera in hand edging closer to the exploding bombs and spurting machine guns? Can you see him get close to the victims and their suffering and sorrow? Can you see him get close to the ones being responsible?

Now apply that to your book project.

Are you close enough to the characters? The pain, anger, pleasure, fear? Are you daring to go close enough to yourself?

The But/Therefore Technique of Plotting

Find boring scenes that may not belong in the story by listing the beats (scenes, maybe in some cases chapters) of the story, and if you can put a “but” or a “therefore” between two of these beats, you’re good to go.

If on the other hand you have to put an “and then” between them, you’re in trouble and likely creating a story that isn’t entirely glued together and as cohesive as it could/should be.

World Building Snafu

I’m spending a couple of hours creating a song I’m thinking might be sung in the story somewhere. It’s really nice, and I even have a translation. Just a few verses but enough to get the job done (after all, I’m not writing a songbook!)

Then I take a step back and realize a problem: the thing is written in the wrong language! These people wouldn’t sing in this language!

Oh, snap!

Fortunately, with the pretty nice translation, and the fact that if I haven’t used the word before, I can bend and twist it to my liking (and my grammar rules will bend and twist right back… yeah yeah…) it wasn’t that hard to make a new “translation”.

Yay for effective writing! (Ok! Ok! But I am having fun! That’s gotta count for something! Right?)