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To Write a Great Story, Start with a Real Struggle

I appreciated this illustration on unconventional storytelling from Tom Gauld:

092082E1-DC5A-4463-A4DF-71D15799F53E When talking about adventures, I often relate the plot outlining of blockbuster movies and video games. What if the synopsis of a big summer movie was "So and so had to save the world from evil... and then they did?"

We'd think, "That's it?! How did they save the world ... what happened along the way? Did they lose something and have to recover it? How was the hero changed throughout the journey, and what was different at the end of the story?"

Challenge is the essence of adventure, and struggle is the root of any great story.

In fact, sometimes the struggle is the entire story. If the struggle is good enough, we're willing to overlook anything else. Why did the aliens invade the earth? Who cares—we have to defeat them!

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Blogging for an Audience of One

This summer we encountered some delays in building the blog’s redesigned pages. Basically, we got behind. It was stressful but then it was okay, as it usually is. The most important thing is having a great product in the end. During the delay, I spent some time working away on stuff that no one would…

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Writing depends on the superficiality of one’s days

Graham Green on writing a book: “I was trying to write a book that simply would not come. I did my daily five hundred words, but the characters never began to live. So much in writing depends on the superficiality of one’s days. One may be preoccupied with shopping and income tax returns and chance…

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Why You Should Write

“That’s the promise: you will live more curiously if you write. You will become a scientist, if not of the natural world than of whatever world you care about. More of that world will pop alive. You will see more when you look at it. Writing needn’t be a formal enterprise to have this effect.…

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The Craft of Editing a Very Short Story

Lydia Davis, an author of “very short stories” for more than 40 years, described her editing process in feature for The Atlantic. The image above contains the original handwritten text. She then made these edits: 1. The two dogs and two cats, as well as the mice, were part of my real situation, but I…

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