A land forged from the fires of strife, blood of heroes, and touch of the gods.
Where deeds of great valor, vile evils, and blazing passions intertwine
to shape the course of elven and human history within.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Backward in Time Again

OK, I'm going to stop talking about how I'll be more timely (pun intended) with future posts.  It doesn't seem to make me more timely, so maybe I'll use some reverse psychology and that will work.  Yeah, right...
Speaking of reverse (see how neatly that worked?), I talked last time about outlining and writing your story from the end when you don't know how to get there from here.  Let's examine that in a bit more detail.
First: You must have an ending for your story.  A real ending, not just "uh, they all make it out alive", or "Frankie and Johnny make off with the cash and buy a plantation in Brazil".  If you don't have an ending, you really don't have a story, just a collection of vignettes.  Believe me, I've done the vignette thing and I know something of it. So establish your ending; the who/what/when/where/and how of it; flesh it out, just like you're writing it for real, because you are.
OK, next step (and I'll use one of my own stories as an example):
Sheynon Calidriil obtains the last piece of the puzzle and completes the quest.  (a) where did he get it and (b) what did he have to do to get it?
Well, he found out an old ally had it and had to track him down.  Of course there was more to it than just asking the old ally to anty up the goods; in fact it got down right bloody.  (a) how did he find out the old ally had the puzzle piece and (b) who told him?
He found out when his wife was kidnapped, that a companion of the old ally had found out about the puzzle piece and snatched it away, then kidnapped Sheynon's wife to ransom her for the pieces Sheynon already had.
But how did the companion of the old ally find out?  Ah, too much drink will make even a dwarf tell things he shouldn't reveal.
See how that works?  It lets you figure out not how to go from A to B to C, but from C to B, to A, and can really make you think about the plot in an entirely different manner.  Sort of like unbaking a cake.  "Well, the icing is chocolate, and it tastes like it's got some vanilla flavoring in there, and sugar and maybe a touch of..."  You get the picture, I'm sure.
So put the ending together just the way you want it, then start working from there... and see how things developed to get to where you want the story to go.

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