Outlines: A Bird’s Eye View

Many writers draw up outlines prior to starting a story, and many others groan at the thought. But whether you start writing when you have a fully formed plot or only a few lines of dialogue, an outline can be a useful tool in revision.…

Setting the Story

A set designer builds a set that will support the story. If the play deals with issues of status, the set designer may create a set with different levels. Perhaps the king will stand on the higher levels, making other characters look up to him.…

Touch in Silence of the Lambs

The 1991 classic Silence of the Lambs lacks an ingredient most films wouldn’t think of going without: a romantic subplot. But it’s still a great example of the impact of touch. In today’s films and television, sex scenes abound and are usually trite and gratuitous.…

The First Rule of Improv

The first rule of improv is to always say “yes,” in one form or another. In other words, when improvising a scene with a partner, if she says, “Omigod! Look at that huge purple elephant!” you can say, “Eeeeek!” or “Let’s go for a ride,”…

Character: Building a Persona in the SCA

Members of the Society for Creative Anachronism “recreate” the Middle Ages at various events, feasts, and game-like battles throughout the year. Each member creates a medieval persona for him or herself, which might be extremely detailed and well-developed. The title link (by Modar Neznanich) describes…

Is TV a Lazy Medium?

My friend “Nick” claimed it wasn’t, making the argument that while films take years to make, a weekly tv show puts out 42 minutes (give or take) of product each week. I admit that’s impressive, but still, so much of what’s put on television is…

Read Aloud

Have you every read your favorite story out load? Try reading aloud to others, yourself, or even your dog. (He may not understand, but will appreciate your voice.) Poetry is almost always best appreciated aloud, but so are many narratives. Kids love to hear stories…

A Novel Arch

As a fiction writer, I’ve always felt I should have a favorite novel or author, preferably contemporary. But until I read James Clavell’s Shogun a couple of years ago, I’d never read a novel that really did anything.That’s a pretty vague way of saying that…