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How Can We Make Time Pass in Our Stories?

Writers Helping Writers: Deepen Your Craft with Resident Writing Coach Jami Gold

It’s time for another post as a Resident Writing Coach over at Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi’s Writers Helping Writers site, and this time we’re exploring 7 techniques we can use to keep our story moving while time passes for our characters.

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June 13, 2017

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Tangents and Subplots: When Do They Work?

Shopping cart in the woods with text: Is This Scene Out of Place?

My Elements of a Scene Checklist helps us identify whether a scene is truly necessary and contributing to our story by making sure it fulfills a story purpose. The same judgment criteria can apply to subplots as well. Let’s take a look at how can we make sure our tangents and subplots are adding to the story and not acting as a distraction.

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August 25, 2015

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When Should We Skip a Scene in Our Story?

Boulder in a river with text: Every Scene Needs Obstacles

Every story beat or turning point scene—when events affect the main story question, conflict, or goal—needs to be included in a story. But what about non-turning-point scenes? How can we tell when to include them and when we can skip ahead?

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May 8, 2014

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3 Tips for Skipping the Boring Parts

Long road toward mountains in the distance with text: Skip to the Good Parts

I was going to rant about poor editing today, but I closed the wrong window in my computer and lost all 1000 words. *sigh* So I’ll try it again later when I’m not so sleep deprived from WANACon preparation. Instead, I’m revisiting a different topic today. We’ve heard the saying: Life […]

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February 20, 2014

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The “Matrix” Approach to Scene Setting – Part Two

Falling Matrix Code

In Part One, I proposed my Matrix theory for describing action and scenes in stories and talked about why it works.  In this post, I’ll explain how to successfully use the technique to add details, both with narrative and dialogue—and how not to use it. So as I mentioned last […]

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September 8, 2010

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The “Matrix” Approach to Scene Setting – Part One

Matrix Digital Tunnel

Last time, I explained how to avoid dumping information into stories and how dialogue is often used incorrectly to convey details to readers—the “As you know, Bob” technique.  It just so happened that my friend Simon C. Larter posted a related article with info dumps in dialogue that worked that […]

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September 7, 2010

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How to Fix the Infamous Info Dump

Spilling Water

Info dump?  Infamous?  You better believe it.  The most egregious offender even has a name: the “As you know, Bob.”  Imagine dialogue along the lines of, “As you know, Bob, Jane is our sister.” *cringe* Does anyone actually speak like that?  Would you ever tell someone something they already know?  […]

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September 1, 2010

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Banish the Boring Parts

Table Setting

Last time, I mentioned how stories—the good ones anyway—avoid the boring parts of the journey by jumping into the action.  Today’s post continues that “skip to the good parts” theme to talk about settings. Setting is the sense of time, place, and mood within a story.  Descriptions create a world […]

August 25, 2010

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Unlike Life, Stories Aren’t a Journey

Road to Mountains

We’ve all heard the saying: Life is a journey.  Often this thought will be accompanied by—enjoy the ride—or something along those lines.  And that’s great advice for life.  But what about for stories? At the RWA conference, I attended the Inside Scoop workshop with Robin Perini and Claire Cavanaugh.  During […]

August 23, 2010

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