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"How to Write" : An Approach That Worked for Me: An Approach That Worked for Me

By Johnson, Kevin, Wade

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Book Id: WPLBN0100304806
Format Type: PDF eBook:
File Size: 0.1 MB
Reproduction Date: 8/17/2023

Title: "How to Write" : An Approach That Worked for Me: An Approach That Worked for Me  
Author: Johnson, Kevin, Wade
Language: English
Subject: Fiction, Drama and Literature, Writing how-to
Collections: Authors Community, Literature
Publication Date:
Publisher: Self-published
Member Page: Kevin Johnson


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Wade Johnson, B. K. (2023). How to Write : An Approach That Worked for Me. Retrieved from

A step-by-step "how to" for writers - which, as the author notes up front, isn't going to work for everybody, or possibly anybody. But whether the approach works or not, some of the specific thoughts certainly will

Ten years of writing guidance by a teaching "legend," mostly for fiction but non-fiction too

Plausibility One of the things that kept me from writing a novel for a very long time was this nagging feeling that my plots were fake. Let me give you an example that isn't mine: nine people taking on an entire realm, a powerful and prepared one, and bringing it down. Not exactly realistic, right? Well, when you consider that's The Lord of the Rings in a nutshell…maybe so. Except not. I mean, really, think about it: Gandalf can only do so much, Aragorn's special sword is broken, Gimli and Legolas are from races that don't get along, Boromir is almost as flawed as Aragorn's sword, and the other four are runts. And they're going to take on The Dark Lord, Ringwraiths, trolls, and hordes of orcs? Not to mention the balrog? C'mon. Now, I will note that, in any impossible situation, it really helps to have the author on your side. (How tempting to write a humor piece from Sauron's point of view, as a bunch of half-pints take down his millennia-laid plans.) But, anyway, I'm hoping I can help you to avoid falling into the same trap I did. See, I was simply focused on whether my story was realistic. Wrong. Bad idea. Throw it in the Cracks of Doom. I should have been focused on whether it was plausible. A truly realistic story is going to have ordinary people doing ordinary things, and will be indistinguishable from real life, meaning anyone buying it is a simp for spending time and money on something that they can just live out for free. Now, a good novel gives insights into humanity and people's psyches, which isn't the most ordinary thing, and it can be in a very real setting. But that's straying from our thesis. The setting, plot, and so on don't have to be realistic, they merely have to be believable and believed in. So, don't make your protagonists impossibly good or lucky or anything, and likewise your antagonists. Don't rely on coincidence and serendipity for your plotting. Don't make the setting too fantastic or unlikely. Build your way up from the ordinary to the extraordinary. Don't strain your audience's credulity. Read up on suspension of disbelief. Because as long as your readers believe, you're good to go. Take that, Dark Lord.

Table of Contents
"How to Write" My Approach May Not Work for You Why Write? Write to Be a Writer "Writing 101": Building Blocks "101" Part 1: Strong Verbs "101" Part 2: Passive Voice "101" Part 3: Weak Noun-Verb Constructions "101" Part 4: Concrete Nouns "101" Part 5: Overusing Adjectives and Adverbs "101" Part 6: Visual Adjectives "101" Part 7: Piled-up Prepositions "101" Part 8: Redundancies "101" Part 9: Throwaways "101" Part 10: Subordinate Clauses "Writing 102": Writing for Effect "102" Part 1: Transitions "102" Part 2: Parallel Structure "102" Part 3: Elliptical Wording "102" Part 4: Tempo "102" Part 5: Rhythm and Eloquence "102" Part 6: Tone "102" Tone Extra—Warm or Cool "102" Part 7: Alliteration and Assonance "102" Part 8: Jargon "102" Part 9: Slang "102" Part 10: "Substandard" Usage "102" Part 11: Pejoratives and Obscenities "102" Part 12: Double Entendres "Writing 201": What's Your Goal? "201" Goal 1: Simple Comprehension "201" Goal 2: Agreement "201" Goal 3: Anger "201" Goal 4: Bedazzlement "201" Goal 5: Humor "201" Goal 6: Nostalgia "201" Goal 7: Storytelling "201" Goal 8: Surprise "201" Goal 9: Wonder "Writing 202": Story Elements "202" Part 1: Names "202" Part 2: More on Names "202" Part 3. Even More on Names "202" Part 4: Races and Species "202" Part 5: Diction "202" Part 6: Motifs "202" Part 7: Conflict/Problem Form "202" Part 8: Conflict/Problem Resolution "Writing 203": Characters "203" Part 1: Depicting Characters "203" Part 2: Conflicted Characters "203" Part Part 3: Designing Protagonists "203" Part Part 4: Designing Antagonists "203" Part 5: Incomprehensible Antagonists Extra "203" Part 6: Supporting Characters "203" Part 7: More on Dialog "203" Part 8: Character Description "Writing 300": Writing in a Genre—Science Fiction and Fantasy "300" Part 1: Magic (for a Fantasy Novel) "300" Part 2: Making Sense of Magic "300" Part 3: The Fermi Paradox of Fantasy "300" Part 4: Technology (for a Science Fiction Novel) "300" Part 5: Extrapolating Technology Sensibly "300" Part 6: The Society and Culture Curve "300" Part 7: The Society and Culture Curve for Science Fiction "300" Part 8: Tech and Society "300" Part 9: How Magic Works, Part 1 "300" Part 10: How Magic Works, Part 2 "300" Part 11: World-Building and Culture 1: Leisure Culture "300" Part 12: World-Building and Culture 2: Individual Choice "300" Part 13: World-Building and Culture 3: Fearless Monster Hunters "300" Part 14: World-Building and Culture 4: Second-Class Citizens "300" Part 15: World-Building and Culture 5: Mages and Culture "300" Part 16: World-Building and Culture 6: Mages and Culture "300" Part 17: World-Building and Culture 7: Mystique "300" Part 18: World-Building and Culture 8: Bestiary "Writing 301," How to Write a Memorable (Fantasy) Novel "301" Part 1: What's the Idea? "301" Part 2: Idea to World-Building "301" Part 3: World-Building to Protagonist "301" Part 4: Protagonist to Plot "301" Part 5: Plot to Style "301" Part 6: Style to Theme I "301" Part 7: Style to Theme II "301" Part 8: Style to Theme III "301" Part 9: Theme and Pacing Layered Writing "Writing 302": Revisions  Writing a Series Writing a Series: What Works, Canon, and More  Part 1: Go Home with the One… Part 2: Power vs. Skill Part 3: Going from Partner to Partner Part 4: Canon Part 5: Retcons Part 6: Prequels Part 7: "Drowning in Their Own Complications" Writing a Series: The Edge Part 1: Offense Part 2: Defense Part 3: Versatility Part 4: Mobility Part 5: "Smarts" Writing a Genius Part 1: What Not to Do Part 2: What to Do Writing a Series: Keeping It Compelling Part 1: World-Building Part 2: Characterization Part 3: Character Growth Part 4: Plot Advancement Part 5: Plot Variation Part 6: Resetting Part 7: Aging Let's Write a Short Story Writing by Topic Characterization Fantasy Characterization Grieving Protagonists Superheroes and Great (Wo)men of History Character Motivation The Importance of Characterization: Two Detectives A Little Characterization, with Patricia C. Wrede A Classic Considered: Tanith Lee's Cyrion A Moment for Characterization with Georgette Heyer Let's Not Do Description Like This Description "How to Write" Extra: Description A Moment with Robert E. Howard, for Description Description with Robert E. Howard Part 2 A Little More Description with Robert E. Howard A Little More on an Aspect of Description Description and Me: Then and Now A Moment with Tanith Lee, for Description A Moment for Description, with Raymond Chandler Dialog Not a Simple Hello "Call Me Ishmael" This Isn't Flirting "Said" Fantasy Dialog Dual-Purpose Dialog Act/React Exposition Exposition and How to Avoid It A Few Thoughts on Rendering Exposition Plotting Meaningful Lives, and Deaths Happy Endings Plot Scenes and Incidents Let's Plot out a Story Plotting, World-Building, and Coincidence World-Building Can Drive Plotting Secret Conflicts Mindless Action Love—At First Sight! The Premise "What if" and Plot The Premise of Time Travel Following Faker's Premise Following End of the Line's Premise Thinking Through the Premise Thinking Through the Premise, Part 1: The "Memorializer" Thinking Through the Premise, Part 2: Dwarves Thinking Through the Premise, Part 3: Longevity's Price Thinking Through the Premise, Part 4: A Manly Paragon Thinking Through the Premise, Part 5: Ghosts Thinking Through the Premise, Part 6: A World Revisited Thinking Through the Premise, Part 7: A Magical Working Thinking Through the Premise, Part 8: Portals, Gates, and Teleportation Thinking Through the Premise, Part 9: My T-Man Protagonist What Story Do You Want to Tell? The Angle Setting Parallel Worlds Why Parallel Worlds? Classifying Parallel Worlds A Hole in the World The Red Wave Population Pressures? Shadows Between Worlds: The Setting(s) Puddle Between Worlds Crystal Myth 19th-Century Settings Cowboys of Color White Snow Black Night Libertarian Settings High Magic? Or Low? "Bones" The True Meaning of Solstice Entitled Nations East vs. West, and Why When Night and Day Hold Equal Sway Neanderthals, Gnostics, Morlocks, Dwarves…and Captain Kirk Dark Future How Green Is My Alley Progress Is a Modern Concept Crannogs Visual Range and the Horizon Something Anyone Inspired by Tolkien Should Consider World-Building The Government in T-Man Call Them Societal Roles KWJ's First Law Different Takes, and Originality Crowns! Florins! Pieces of Eight! Potions, Elixirs, and Other Terms for Fantasy (Writers) Witches, Wizards, Warlocks and More Words for Mages The Importance of Canon Size Matters No "Horsing" Around Shrunken World Parallel Worlds, Parallel People The Henge Gates Chaos and World-Building Parallel Worlds and Theme A Century of $ We're Turtles Wave? Particle? Ray! Small World(-Building) When Working up an Interdimensional Organization Freeze But Is It Science Fiction? Part 1: Distinguishing Characteristics Part 2: Bug-Eyed Monsters! Part 3: An Adventure Tale Part 4: A Retold Tale Part 5: Military SF Part 6: Space Opera Part 7: "Literary" Science Fiction Part 8: Star Trek Part I Part 9: Star Trek Part II Part 10: Star Wars Part 11: World-Building Part 12: One More Example Antagonists: "Evil" Evil…? Evil Part II: Good and Evil in Hearts and Fiction "Evil": Selfish Malevolence "Evil": Arrogant Malevolence "Evil": Intolerant Malevolence "Evil": Callous Malevolence "Evil": Bureaucratic Malevolence "Evil": Economic Malevolence "Evil": The Malevolence of Incompetence "Evil": The Root of…? Everyone Is the Hero of Their Own Story, and Writing Influences H. Beam Piper James H. Schmitz Robert A. Heinlein John Dalmas John D. MacDonald Lois McMaster Bujold Rex Stout, Georgette Heyer, and Roger Ebert Writing Miscellany The World That Suits You The Head, Hobbit Climb, You Clod Dread How to Survive in a Violent World: Scene, Dialog, Setting…and Mistake Self-Indulgence Constructive Criticism Publish or Self-Publish? Hostages to Fortune Hostages to Fortune II Plausibility Eleven Things I Try To Do as an Author Forgettable Fiction Writing for Resonance Killing Off Characters Pirates! Ninjas! Carjackers! Honing Our Writing Intuition Three Reasons for Horror Once More, with Adverbs Assumptions in Fiction (and Life) More on Assumptions Religion, Fantasy and Science Fiction Does This Resonate with You? Death? Unacceptable It's a Vowel Thing The Final Answer on the Oxford Comma KWJ's Laws: The Three Laws of Communication The First Law The Second Law The Third Law Unconventional Writing Exercises Exercises Exercise #1 Exercise #2 Exercise #3 Exercise #4 Exercise #5: A Magical "Spell" or Two Exercise #6 Exercise #7 Exercise #8 Exercise #9 "Answers" "Answer" to Exercise #1 "Answer" to Exercise #2 "Answer" to Exercise #3 "Answer" to Exercise #4 "Answer" to Exercise #5 "Answer" to Exercise #6 "Answer" to Exercise #7 "Answer" to Exercise #8 "Answer" to Exercise #9 About the Author "Legend"


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