Archive for 2011

  • Writers On Writers

    Writers On Writers

    August 14th, 2011 | Literature, Writers | journalpulp | 2 Comments

    “Rat-eyed” Virginia Woolf described Somerset Maugham as. “No man ever put more of his heart and soul into the written word,” said Eudora Welty of William Faulkner. “Curiously dull, furiously commonplace, and often meaningless,” Alfred Kazin said of William Faulkner. “Hemingway never climbed out on a limb and never used a word where the reader […]

    Read More

  • Climax: Bringing Together The Essential Components Of A Novel

    Climax: Bringing Together The Essential Components Of A Novel

    August 11th, 2011 | Characterization, Climax, Plot, Storytelling, Style | journalpulp | 2 Comments

    A good novel consists of four primary components, all of which interact in an almost symbiotic way. Those elements are plot, character, theme, and style. (The recapitulation of theme-and-plot combined is what I call The Situation.) Of those four components, the first three are primarily concerned with subject-matter, and the last — style, which is […]

    Read More

  • Writers Discussing Other Writers

    August 8th, 2011 | Literary trivia, Quotes | journalpulp | 2 Comments

    Charles Baudelaire spent two hours a day getting dressed. When Edgar Allen Poe married his cousin Virginia, he was twenty-seven, and she was thirteen. And consumptive. The genius poet-priest Gerard Manley Hopkins wanted to change his name to Pook Tunks. Robert Frost had only five poems accepted in his first seventeen years of writing and […]

    Read More

  • The Situation

    The Situation

    August 5th, 2011 | Plot, Storytelling, Suspense, The Situation | journalpulp | 7 Comments

    The best stories are those that can be summed up in one sentence. Which is to say, a solid story hinges upon its Situation. The Situation is not the whole story but the essence of that story’s conflict, which will in turn shape the events of your plot. Here is an example of a situation: […]

    Read More

  • Characterization (Part 4)

    Characterization (Part 4)

    July 29th, 2011 | Characterization, Plot | journalpulp | No Comments

    In the previous post, I said that to create convincing characters, the writer must first understand what motivates the people she or he is creating. This means that the writer must understand what moves the actions of his or her characters. The term “actions” in this context refers to plot — though it bears repeating […]

    Read More

  • Characterization (Part 3)

    Characterization (Part 3)

    July 27th, 2011 | Characterization, Literature, Plot, Storytelling, Style, Theme | journalpulp | 3 Comments

    Characterization is a presentation of the personality of the people who populate a story. Characterization is primarily a depiction of motivation and motive. The reader must understand what makes the characters act in the way that those characters do. It’s been said that one of the truest tests of good literature is when you can […]

    Read More

  • Characterization (Part 2)

    Characterization (Part 2)

    July 25th, 2011 | Characterization, Dialogue | journalpulp | 2 Comments

    [Note: I’ve updated this post and changed the dialogue example] In Part 1 of this post, I mentioned that a fictional character is shaped by his or her words and actions, and that for this reason, plot and dialogue are the sine-qua-non of character development. The following, then, taken from an actual book (written in […]

    Read More

  • Characterization (Part 1)

    Characterization (Part 1)

    July 22nd, 2011 | Characterization, Literature, Storytelling | journalpulp | 1 Comment

    If plot is the skeleton — that vital framework upon which the rest of the body is built — then characters are the soul. Characters are the reason we ultimately love or hate a story. “I’m sick to death of the inarticulate hero,” said John Fowles. “To hell with the inarticulate.” Characterization is in essence […]

    Read More

  • Why Are Stories Important?

    Why Are Stories Important?

    July 20th, 2011 | Art, Literature, Storytelling | journalpulp | 6 Comments

    Stories are important because human beings are conceptual. This among other things means that humans survive by use of their reasoning brains. Humans evolved neither the balls of bulls, nor the trunks of elephants, nor the claws of bears, nor the necks of giraffes, but the brains of Homo sapiens, with a capacity to think. […]

    Read More

  • Creating Suspense: Getting Readers To Eat Out The Palm Of Your Hand

    Creating Suspense: Getting Readers To Eat Out The Palm Of Your Hand

    July 18th, 2011 | Plot, Storytelling, Suspense | journalpulp | 2 Comments

    If you want to rivet readers, you must give readers something to worry about. Make the reader nervous. Make her feel intrigued. Make her curious. This issue, which is very closely associated with plot, is called suspense. Suspense is when your eyes are nailed to the screen. It’s when you’re coming out of your seat. […]

    Read More

  • Lice In The Locks Of Literature (And Other Curious Quotations)

    Lice In The Locks Of Literature (And Other Curious Quotations)

    July 16th, 2011 | Literature, Quotes | journalpulp | 2 Comments

    The fact is, I did not eat every day during that period of my life. Said the surrealist Andre Breton, explaining the possible provenance of some of his strange and early literature. They rowed her in across the rolling foam — The cruel, crawling foam — to her grave beside the sea. Wrote the English […]

    Read More

  • Good Stories, Unoriginal Plots, Timeless Themes

    Good Stories, Unoriginal Plots, Timeless Themes

    July 14th, 2011 | Plot, Style, Theme | journalpulp | 4 Comments

    There are 32 ways to write a story, and I’ve used every one, but there’s only one plot: things are not what they seem. – Jim Thompson. Anthony Burgess was even more stringent: he put the number of possible plots at about five. So what distinguishes one plot from another? Or, to put that question […]

    Read More

  • What Is Plot?

    What Is Plot?

    June 22nd, 2011 | Plot | journalpulp | 11 Comments

    Plot is a vehicle. It is the method by which you present your story. Plot is a purposeful sequence of events. In a well-plotted story, those events connect logically, culminating in a specific goal, or climax. “Life is an unceasing sequence of individual actions.” Said Ludwig von Mises. That is true. Plot is similar, but […]

    Read More