October 27, 2016

How to tell a story

In poetry, words with multiple connotations can bring an air of mystery. However, in a short story or novel, that ambiguity doesn't work well – and even less so in science-fiction. Sci-fi needs to be grounded in realism to be plausible and interesting.

Generally speaking, clarity comes by briefly identifying each person, situation, and setting as you introduce them in your fiction. Keep in mind though, the story is the point. Then keep the action in each scene moving without interruption.

Details can be woven between scenes with story movement occurring as it happens. In other words, show movement in the moment, rather than telling about it before or after the event. This develops your story in a logical time sequence, which helps to clarify what's happening, when, and to whom.

Mary Harwell Sayler, ©2016

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