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Tag Archive for ‘form & technique’

collateral tales

Narrativity and Diachronic vs. Episodic Self-Experience: Setting the Scene

According to Strawson, life is experienced in a “diachronic” or “episodic” kind of way: the former is compatible with psychological narrativity, the latter not.

collateral tales

Dramatic Conflict and the Future of Science Fiction

Dramatic conflict in science fiction connects to advanced aspects of a future society. With our accelerating technological progress, this is becoming difficult.

collateral tales

Travesty, Parody, and Advertising with a Purpose: #Prop8

Travesty is a powerful form of storytelling not despite, but because we know what’s going to happen. We’re already on the lookout for what’s different.

collateral tales

Turns and Flashbacks, Junctions as Junctures

Flashbacks are a powerful storytelling device, especially when used for missed turns and missed junctions-as-junctures.

collateral tales

Diegesis (“Excuse me sir, a what?”)

Diegesis is a technical term literature can do without. Mimesis too, but we should keep that one simmering on the back of the stove for historical reasons.

collateral tales

Good Grief

We’ve become so used to Kübler-Ross’s “Five Psychological States of Grief” that we never stop and ask if it might be more complex, in reality and writing.

The Unfinished Swan

Storytelling in Videogames: The Unfinished Swan

Sometimes storylines can be evoked by form rather than developed by content, and the results can be quite astonishing.

collateral tales

What’s in a Tale

While there certainly are differences between a tale and a story, they’re not necessarily what James Hull makes them out to be.

collateral tales


If characters are overstuffed with mannerisms, they’re gaining in quirks while losing in depth. Quirks and idiosyncrasies, moreover, should have a function.

The Da Vinci Code at LibraryThing

Hall of Hacks, Pt.II: Dan Brown

While the movie “The Da Vinci Code” did a pretty good job, Dan Brown’s book turned out to be rather awful. Geoff Pullum from Language Log gave it a (buck-)shot.

collateral tales

Foreboding, Part II

Two foreboding techniques tested in (pen & paper) roleplaying storytelling that were supposed to raise suspense and broaden the picture, but failed miserably.

Nineteen Eighty-Four at LibraryThing

The Famous Thirteen

The very first paragraph of George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four tells attentive readers quite a lot about the setting without explaining anything.

collateral tales

Foreboding, Part I

To raise suspense early on before readers can identify with the characters, some use foreboding techniques in form of digressions. This has some drawbacks.

Stilletto at Library Thing

Hall of Hacks, Pt.I: Harold Robbins

Watch Harold Robbins not being aware of (or not giving a shit about) even the most basic writing techniques with respect to exposition and voice.

Stephen King: It

The Little Boat of Horrors

The exposition of Stephen King’s It is a great example how to switch from summarizing to real-time action and back again to create suspense by superior pacing.

collateral tales

Look Into My I

Aspiring writers often adopt tje first-person perspective for their narrative voice because it looks more simple & natural than the alternatives. They’re wrong.

collateral tales

Resistance is NOT Futile

For the exposition, it is extra hard to resist the Urge to Explain. But try! The greatest story idea is worthless if you hack it to death right at the start.

collateral tales

Tell, Don’t Tell

Writers never show, they tell—but often fall for the cinematography metaphor of fiction writing. Good pacing consists of both narration and summarization.

collateral tales

At the Story’s Business End

Suspension of disbelief: from the viewpoint of the observer, everything that had to happen indeed happened—in order to secure the observer’s existence.