Monday, April 4, 2011

C-Words of Fiction

The following are a list of important C-words that should be in any piece of fiction. If they're not there the story is flat and without tension. 

The crisis may be a recognition, a decision, or a resolution. The character understands what hasn’t been seen before, or realizes what must be done, or finally decides to do it. It’s when the worm turns. Timing is crucial. If the crisis occurs too early, readers will expect still another turning point. If it occurs too late, readers will get impatient–the character will seem rather thick. -Jerome Stern

"If characters do not have internal or external conflict to meet, deal with, and overcome (or fail to overcome), then readers may find the story uninteresting."  -Kenny Tanemura
"This may be the most important element that plot delivers to the longer narratives story. Change is the test of every action or event--and also every character who is perceived to be alive."  -Anne Lamott

"No matter what form it takes—a battle to the death or a quiet decision to do the right thing—the climax must be the culmination of the main story problem your character should have been pursuing from chapter one."  -Hilari Bell
"An action along the line of the story is united to other events in the causal manner that says an act has consequence. This means that every action, speech, event, person, place or thing that lies along the narrative arc will eventually be shown to be in active relationship, in time and setting, to every other action, speech, event , person, place, or thing."  -Anne Lamott

"Don't leave your readers hanging in the dark at the end of your story. Be sure that your conclusion is satisfying, but not too predictable. Readers need to be left with a feeling of resonance, a feeling that they long to know what happened to the characters after you wrote that last word."  -Lee Masterson

A novel uses a web carefully woven of narrative coincidence, using events and incidents that must occur, according to the Gods of Plot, but still have the casual texture of everyday accident. Everything mus, in fact, feel accidental, spontaneous, as if it is happening because of the element of luck. -Anne Lamott

How do these play a role in the fiction you write? 

Oh, and the winner of the "Anyone Can Be A Teacher Contest" is..... Annie Crawford. Congratulations! You've won a $25 gift card to office depot for the teacher of your choice. Thanks for making your voice heard on behalf of teachers!!


  1. it is amazing how many c's are in writing. I agree that change is one of the most important things in writing and was the first thing I wrote about on my psychology of character. If the reader does not see change then they will put the book down.

  2. Wow!!! I'm thrilled that I won the contest!! I'm going to give the gift cert. to my son who's visiting from Thailand right now. He's a teacher and can really use it! Thanks, Pam.


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