How to write a Love Story

Friday, February 26

Whether love is the focus of your story a just a side plot thread, it usually follows the same pattern.


First Sight
How do they meet?
I've noticed a couple patterns in most love stories; they eaither hate each other guts or it's love at first sight.

Hate
This seems to be the more popular one.
The two characters hate/dislike each other at first for several reasons.
For instance, she could hate him because he seems to think he's better than her. (Pride and Predjudice)
He could hate her because she appears to be a threat to his self-control. (Twilight)
The possibilities are endless, and it seems sweet somehow to watch them slowly grow to like one another.

Love
There are also many books that start out with the two falling in love (Romeo and Juliet) or they're already in love (The Count of Monte Cristo.)
These are usually more simple to write, since the characters don't have to overcome an internal battle.


Climax
Most love stories appear to have a huge dramatic scene in which they become closer, or their love is tested.

Closer
This could be saving their life, such as when Bella almost gets crushed by a car in Twilight.
Or it could be simply overcoming a misunderstanding, such as when Darcy explains his innocence. (Pride and Prejudice)
Either way, the two characters start to develop, if not love, at least a respect for the other person.

Tested Love
The characters are separated and must struggle to return to each other.
(Romeo and Juliet; Romeo is exiled. The Count of Monte Cristo; Edmond is sent to Chateau d'If.)


Falling Action
As the story progresses, the two characters grow to love each other and overcome their difficulties.


Denouement
The final stage of their love.
Do they marry?
Does one die?
Do they both die?
How does their family/ friends react?

Read more...

Writing Dialects and Accents

Monday, February 22


According to a book I recently read, if characters have accents, it's confusing to the reader. Using "atrocious" spelling to signify speech only slows the reader down by forcing them to untangle what they are saying. Speech can be implied through adding slang, but never through ungrammatical sentences.

I'm not sure that I agree.

I can think of two very popular series that ignore this "rule"; Harry Potter and Redwall.
I find it easy to make out what Hagrid is saying, even with all his "h"s left off.
And in Redwall, I found the "mole speech" endearing rather than entangling.

I'm not implying that the reason for their popularity is because they use accents. It's arguable that they're popular in spite of it.

For my own stories, I rarely change the spelling. But I have a tendency to use "gonna", "yeah", and replace some character's "h"s with apostrophes.

But for the most part I feel that if that's how they say it, then that's the way you spell it.

Accents provide diversity in speech. Having all your characters sound the same is usually dull. Accents can signify different nationalities. Rather than going to the trouble of saying that "he had a German accent" you can show us by replacing the " w" with a "v".

What do you think? Should dialect be written, or is should grammar be your main concern?

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Plotting your Story: Acts

Friday, February 19

Cutting my novel into a beginning, middle, and end was too general for me. So I did the playright thing and split it into acts.

Act I
Explain the situation.
What is the main problem?
Stir the Hero from his path.
Why do things change? How do they change?

Act II
Increased difficulties.
Things get worse through the character's actions.

Act III
The events rise to a turning point or climax. The falling action.
Things get unbelievably bleak. This is where you have the showdown. Things rise into a climax. The main problem is solved, but at a price.
This is usually the longest "act."

Act IV
Resolves difficulties.
Other problems are are solved and the story begins to wind down.

Act V
The final outcome.
It's here we tie down all the loose ends. Does the hero get the girl? Does he defeat his own internal battles? Does his brother return?

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How to End a War Part 2

Monday, February 15


More ways to end a war;


Trickery
War is based on deception.
~Sun-tzu

Lure your enemy to you (promise a treaty, but in reality ambush them), or lie your way to get at them (disguising themselves to sneak into the army's camp and kill the leader.)
Traps and lies are what add flavor to the story. You could even create Dramatic Irony by letting the reader know that the character's walking into a trap.


Defeating source of power
This ties in with defeating the leader.

If the leader's source of power is their army, then separate them from their army. In Martin the Warrior; the hero draws the leader away from the main battle to have a private showdown between the two of them.

In Lord of the Rings, the only way to defeat evil was to destroy The Ring of Power.

Why is the leader so powerful? Take that away and you're sure to win.


Befriending enemy
Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.
~Sun-tzu

This is one of those great betrayal scenes, where the friend stabs a character in the back (literally or figuratively, your choice.)
For example, in the movie Prince Caspian two generals conspire to have the king killed by Caspian. When Caspian spares his life, they do the killing themselves.


Force
The most obvious way of winning, but it can make for some great entertainment.

In this case, someone wins because they've got more people in their army, stronger weapons, better armor.

Personally, as a reader, I think this is okay for a preliminary battle.
But the endings that have stuck with me are the ones where the underdog pulls through because of their friendship and loyalty.


Magic
If your story is set in a magical world, it is okay for people to use magic as a weapon.
But it can't completely solve the war.

Don't just magic your way through problems. If one side has magic, the other side should have defenses against it.

Otherwise it's boring if the good guys just snap their fingers and the other side goes up in smoke.
Believe it or not, I've read a few books where that happens.

It is really frustrating for the reader when there's no battle to prove that good always defeats evil.
One side should not walk away unscathed and victorious unless the other side does too, either through a treaty or a surrender.

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How to End a War Part 1

Friday, February 12

Picture by Radojavor

Ah, the epic war stories. So much fun to write, but so hard to actually resolve.
A few ways to end a war;


Death of Leader
Cut off the head of the snake. Attack the root of the problem, and all that sort of thing.

Their death usually results in confusion amongst the troops. They get frightened and usually try to flee, or they surrender in hopes of staying alive.

To make it more interesting, the troops could remain levelheaded and continue the fight. Or the leader is quickly replaced and the battle rages on (Caesar's assassination.) If that's the case, you must turn to another solution.



Love
Think, Romeo and Juliet.

It usually takes the whole book to set up this kind of a relationship.

Two people from different sides either fall in love or become good friends.These people should be relatively important to their group; the leader's offspring, the true heir to the throne, the person the rebels have chosen to replace the king, the only one who can control the magic amulet, ect.

There's a dramatic scene where the two people openly declare their friendship.
If they're relatives of the leaders, this could either bring the two armies to a halt, or their marriage/friendship could unite the two groups.
But if the characters are important for practical reasons (only one who can control amulet) this refusal to go on fighting with throw a wrench in the army's plans, and they'll have to simply give up.


Treaty
The majority of the world's wars have ended with treaties (American Civil War, World War I, Korean War).

The leaders get together and promise to stop killing each other.
However practical, it's usually not very thrilling.
And not at all satisfying if one leader is a sadistic tyrant intent on conquering the world. By signing that treaty, the tyrant is acting out of character, which is not a good thing.


Captivity
In this case, the leader is captured (Romulus Augustus, the last emperor of Rome), the people as a whole are enslaved (The Jews enslaved by the Babylonians), or the capitol is occupied and its people subdued.(The Hunger Games)
This could, technically, end a war, but before too long the captured people will rebel. It's only human nature.


Surrender
One army sees that victory is unachievable and hopes to save their lives by giving up.
They are slain by the victorious, enslaved, or given some land and limited rights as long as they "play along."

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Character Ideas: Finale

Monday, February 8





























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