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Creative Writing. Over the next several weeks we will be learning how to write fictional stories. Contrary to what some of you may believe, there are standards that you can learn and correct ways to write good fiction. Why Do People Write Fiction?.

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Creative Writing

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Creative Writing

  • Over the next several weeks we will be learning how to write fictional stories. Contrary to what some of you may believe, there are standards that you can learn and correct ways to write good fiction.


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Why Do People Write Fiction?

  • They grew up around storytellers. It is part of their family culture (Smith 128).

  • Writing haunts them—the art of the craft provokes them (Wallace 140-141).

  • It is fun (Wallace 142).

  • Works Cited

  • Blythe, Will. Ed. Why I Write Fiction: Thoughts on the Craft of Fiction. New York:

    • Little, Brown and Co., 1998.


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Why Write?

  • “To satisfy a basic, fundamental need.” The same reason kids draw pictures. (Gaitskill 155).

  • “To give form to the things we can sense but not see” (Gaitskill 156).

  • “To feel important, in the simplest egotistical sense” (Gaitskill 158).

  • Works Cited

  • Blythe, Will. Ed. Why I Write Fiction: Thoughts on the Craft of Fiction. New York:

    • Little, Brown and Co., 1998.


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Why Write?

  • “To reveal and to restore things that I feel might be ignored or disregarded” (Gaitskill 159).

  • “To communicate” (Gaitskill 160).

  • Works Cited

  • Blythe, Will. Ed. Why I Write Fiction: Thoughts on the Craft of Fiction. New York:

    • Little, Brown and Co., 1998.


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Why Write?

  • Much of what I write “is sad. But because of that tender sadness, I also feel humility and joy and love. It’s strange because much of what I write about does not seem loving. But to write makes me feel love” (Gaitskill 163).

  • Works Cited

  • Blythe, Will. Ed. Why I Write Fiction: Thoughts on the Craft of Fiction. New York:

    • Little, Brown and Co., 1998.


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Why Write?

  • “I can’t do much of anything, except write. I have no jump shot. I can’t balance my checkbooks. Small machinery puzzles me. I have no nose for news. Cooking bores me” (Chiarella 182).

  • Works Cited

  • Blythe, Will. Ed. Why I Write Fiction: Thoughts on the Craft of Fiction. New York:

    • Little, Brown and Co., 1998.


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Descriptive Language

  • To write effective fiction, you must use descriptive language. The more concrete you can be in describing, the better your fiction. BE SPECIFIC! Compare the following:

  • She sat down to breakfast.

  • She plopped down on the hard wooden chair; she looked down at her breakfast: grayish eggs, burned toast, and water.


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Characters

  • You need to try to create interesting characters. In order to do this, you must know them very well. In fact, if you don’t know the color of their toothbrush, what they do when they get mad, or what they think of their grandmother, you probably don’t have a fully developed character.


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Characters

  • You have a few things to consider when selecting a name for your characters.

  • Don’t pick a long name.

  • Pick a name that fits your character.

  • Don’t pick a name because it is your favorite.


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Characters

  • Characters can be classified as flat or round.

  • The deeper qualities in round characters are those that make the character more realistic, and meaningful. These characters come ALIVE!

  • Every thing a character does is motivated by something. You (the writer) must know the character’s motivation!


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Characters

  • Characters should be developed with enough depth and logic to make them believable.

  • To be an effective writer, you need to convince your readers that your fictional characters could exist! A character’s actions also must be believable.


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Plot

  • You will also need to think about creating an interesting plot. Your story must have a beginning, a middle and an end. You need to have a problem as well as a solution. This is often talked about in terms of conflict, rising action, climax, falling action and resolution.


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Plot

  • “A dull story is like a dull meal at a restaurant. Patrons don’t complain, but they don’t come back” (Minot 28).

  • You need to create tension. Do this by creating conflict.

  • You need to make your reader curious about what will happen next!.

  • You need to create suspense.


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Plot

  • BE SUBTLE WHEN CREATING CONFLICT!

  • Don’t be overly dramatic. Don’t try to shock your reader by creating a sad or tragic event. Sad and tragic events usually come across as not believable!

  • Dealing with a tragic car crash, a serious illness, family problems and going to jail are too major for an effective short story. Subtle is better!!!


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Plot

  • Your character must change in some way before the end of your story. If your character doesn’t change, there is no point to writing their story.

  • Your character’s change can be subtle--they might have a new sense of hope, a new respect for their mom, etc.


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Conflict

  • Conflict refers to whatever causes the central tension in a story.

  • People verses people

  • People verses society

  • People verses nature

  • People verses themselves


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Resolution

  • The resolution must fit the plot.

  • You can’t drop a completely random ending on your reader.

  • You must have a conflict, believable characters, a series of events that go together with dramatic effect, and then a realistic resolution. (Piece of cake!)


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Dialogue

  • Dialogue is essential to a fiction story.

  • Dialogue tags are used to help the reader know who is talking. (he said/she said)

  • Descriptive dialogue tags help the reader know who is talking and add description. (“Excellent work,” Mrs. Garrison said, flipping through the student’s stories.)


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Dialogue

  • Don’t use - she hissed - she laughed - he groaned. It calls to much attention to you as the creator of the fiction, and it slows down your dialogue.

  • You may use - he yelled - she whispered - I screamed. These are fine, because they can be performed with words. But, descriptive dialogue tags are really the best!


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Dialogue

  • It is also important to vary your dialogue. Try to use a combination of tagless dialogue, descriptive tags and simple tags

  • Don’t use a long tag if you already have long dialogue.


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Getting Started

  • I have found that an excellent way to get started on a story is to develop a fictional character. Think a lot about what the character likes and dislikes. What is their greatest fear? Often times, a story will develop from there.

  • You may have an issue that you feel strongly about. Sometime this can develop into a story or plot.


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Creative Writing

  • Start thinking about your character/conflict.


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