story craft #19 Weight in a Name

MJG Blog, Story Craft Leave a Comment

You’ve probably heard of the callback, a technique comedians use to get fresh mileage out of an old joke, often with exponentially uproarious results. Here’s a callback in Seinfeld: Seinfeld did these a lot, in this case it was a callback and a kind of catch phrase linking back to a previous episode, that when repeated multiple times, only gets …

story craft #17 Thin vs. Fat Stories

MJG Story Craft 2 Comments

What is the right balance of thin vs. fat in a fantasy or sf story? I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently. I’ve had a few story sales to the pro and semi-pro markets now (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Clarkesworld, Ideomancer, etc..), plus dozens of rejections, and been trying to deconstruct the patterns that work. I think I’ve found the/a …

story craft #16 Flash-forward Openings

MJG Story Craft, Writing Leave a Comment

What do you think about stories that open with flash-forwards? Consider the movie Fight Club. Ed Norton brandishes a gun and conducts a bizarre conversation with Brad Pitt. They are in a dimly lit skyscraper looking out over a city’s night skyline. We are totally engaged and intrigued. What the F is going on? Who are these guys, and why …

story craft #15 Acts of Invention

MJG Story Craft 2 Comments

26. That’s how many acts of invention a story needs. We can look at any story, any story that is a story, at least, and reel them off. Without fail, they’ll be there. They are all discreet. They all require a new idea, or the development of an old idea into a new idea. They are the ingredients in the …