Write like Doctor Who

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I’ve analyzed the macro and micro levels of The Angels Take Manhattan, but what about the heart of the story? What if you wanted to feel your way through writing something like Doctor Who? What if you don’t want to focus on the genre, the 5 Commandments, and the conventions/obligatory scenes? Well, I still say those elements should come into play at some point in the crafting process. But, they don’t have to be your first thought. What do you […]

Scene Breakdown of Doctor Who

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Don’t forget from last week’s post that I’m taking an in-depth look at the Doctor Who episode, The Angels Take Manhattan. Please note that this is only one interpretation. It’s not meant to be seen of as completely, without fail, true. Also, you’ll notice that some events play many roles when it comes to the 5 commandments. Backstory: the mini-story that sets up the dramatic irony used later on. Inciting Incident: Mr. Grayle hires Mr. Garner at $25 a day […]

Doctor Who: The Angels Take Manhattan Deconstructed

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What better start to a new year than a little Doctor Who? In the spirit of sharing my work, I’m starting a series of posts that analyze works I love. Stories that inspired me to write, or that I think do a particularly good job of telling a captivating story. Hopefully, it will provide additional insight into how stories work. To start, I chose Doctor Who. In particular, one of my favorite episodes: The Angels Take Manhattan. To understand this, […]

Beginning, Middle, and End

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What is Your Beginning Hook, Middle Build, and Ending Payoff? If stories are about change and scenes need to have an inciting incident, complications, crisis, climax, and resolution, how do you deal with the global story? This is the last question you should consider before starting your novel (or after you’ve let your draft sit a while). That is, you should be able to answer how your story hooks, builds, and pays off. When you start writing a global story, […]

Figuring out your Controlling Idea or Theme

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A controlling idea or theme is the message that a reader takes away from your story after having read it. According to Robert McKee a Controlling Idea or Theme is described as follows: A controlling idea must be boiled down to the fewest possible words and cannot be longer than a one-sentence statement. It must describe the climactic value charge of the entire story, either positively or negatively. And, it must be as specific as possible about the cause of […]

10 Things You Can Do Right Now That Will Improve Your Writing

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If you want to improve your writing, you’ve come to the right place. Many articles will tell you to take a class, attend a workshop, or study grammar. But, here are 10 things you can do right now that will help you write better, whether you want to write novels, essays, short stories, a memoir, or something else. 1. Read a book in your genre Pick a book that is like the one you’re trying to write. Maybe you’ve read […]

What are the Objects of Desire

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Objects of desire are very important for your writing. Broken down, objects of desire are the character’s wants and needs. Wants and needs vary depending on the genre. What is the character actively trying to pursue? What is the emotional change that has to occur for the character to really find peace/happiness? Genre decisions will determine which is conscious and which is subconscious and what the correct balance between the two is. You don’t have a story if your protagonist […]

Writing with a Point of View

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What’s the Point of View/Narrative Device? Continuing the journey of the things you should know about your novel before you get started. Next up is the Point of View, or POV, and Narrative Device. These matter because settling on who is telling your story and how they tell it answers questions you might have about what to put in it. For example, The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness is told in the first person. It also includes […]

Conventions and Obligatory Scenes

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What are the Conventions and Obligatory Scenes of your chosen Genre? Once you choose a Genre, there are a certain number of promises you make to the audience. These are the conventions and obligatory scenes. Conventions are “specific requirements in terms of the story’s cast or methods in moving the plot forward.” While obligatory scenes are the “must-have elements to pay off the raised expectations of the conventions.” That means that when you pick up a story, it must have […]

Mastering the Global Genre

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There are a certain number of things that you need to know about a story before you can expect to bring it to life. One of those is the global genre. According to Shawn Coyne, “A Genre is a label that tells the reader/audience what to expect. Genres manage audience expectations.” That said, there are a couple things we, as audience members, expect to know about a story going into it: How long it will last How far will we […]