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Field Notes

Field Notes

Exercises and examples that demonstrate the practical and innovative application of the principles contained in the book.

Finding Stories in Aphorisms | Fashionable Belief

Aphorisms are especially well-suited to generating story ideas, because they often contain recommended approaches or courses of action that serve as kernels for story themes. The trick is in how to tease out the story elements from the kernel. Religion, Fashion, and Belief In this note, we will use the principles of Discovering the Soul of Your...

Profiling Your Characters

Putting together detailed profiles of your characters can help bring them to life in your writing mind, but doing so takes time and effort—which means less time to actually write. Is the effort worth it? It depends. Compiling Dossiers on Your Unusual Suspects To profile or not to profile—that is the question. And the answer has less to do with...

Finding Stories in the I Ching [Overview]

The I Ching ("Book of Change"), is an original Chinese classic the origin of which may lie as far back as 3,000 BCE. Is it a source of wisdom? Certainly. A source of story ideas? Now, that's an intriguing proposition. Drawing on Ancient Wisdom For thousands of years, human beings in every culture have recorded their observations regarding how to...

Paikea, Dorothy, and Katniss—Oh, My!

It cannot be denied that females are underrepresented as main characters in the world of mainstream stories. Can we use the principles outlined in Discovering the Soul of Your Story to understand and fix that? You bet. The Underrepresented Majority It cannot be denied that females are underrepresented as main characters in the world of mainstream...

Finding Theme in the Inciting Incident

Considering the importance of theme to a story, it behooves the writer to practice finding its hiding places and identifying its species—not to coax it into a cage, but so that she might fully explore the story environment in which it lives. The Importance of Theme One Saturday afternoon, I attended a public reading of a play-in-progress at...

Finding Stories in Titles [Perfection]

Have you ever thought of a phrase and said to yourself, "That would make a good title for a story"? Of course, you have. The trick is figuring out how to grow a story from its title alone. And it's easier than you think. Growing a Story from Its Name It's not uncommon for a writer to hear (or overhear) a phrase in daily life that catches her...

Finding Stories in Idioms [Numbers]

Some idioms contain a quality or value that can provide an easily extractable basis for a story theme. But even those that are merely descriptors can serve as excellent story starters if you know how to find them. Applying the grok Approach to an Expression Some idioms contain at their core a quality or value that can be judged as good or bad,...

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