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Fiction: Writing Stories in Prose

In writing fiction, you want to glue your reader's eyes to the story. Fix the reader's interest with a strong conflict. Solid characterization and a rivetting plot depend upon your characters having something at stake in the outcome of the story.

Here I've included key areas of interest for writing fiction. If you have suggestions for material you'd like to see more of, please let me know.

Elements of Fiction

The heart of any story lies in the Characters. They are the reason for our interest in stories to begin with. We read to learn about the human experience, and characters represent this in our stories.

The Voice of the story is a critical aspect for developing the character, but then goes a step further. The best stories actually reveal multiple voices - the voice of the narrative and the unique voices of each character.

Conflict anchors us to the present moment in the protagonist's story. What is the struggle?  What does the protagonist want? What's standing in the way? Without conflict, there can be no tension.
Plot Don't be fooled - Plot is not the most important element of fiction. It is actually a product of the character's struggle to overcome the conflict. Without character and conflict, there can be no plot.

Also, semantically speaking, Plot and Story describe two different aspects of narrative. The Story is the chronological order of events. The Plot is the order in which those events are told in the story.

Tone Tone represents the emotional feel of the story. Horror stories should be spooky just as romantic stories might be hopeful or thoughtful. And you should adjust the tone not only for the story, but for each moment in the story.
Dialogue Dialogue is the closest we come to hear the individual voices of our characters. Not to be confused with the Voice of the piece, dialogue should do more than simply report what characters say to one another. The choice of words should reveal the motives of the speaker, and the words themselves should help advance the plot of the story. Unlike drama, however, fiction does not depend on dialogue for this. Dialogue should contribute to our understanding of the story, but too much dialogue will take us away from the narrative.
Setting Setting establishes the time and the place of the story. In choosing your setting, you want to ensure that all the details provide relevant information. If you provide a long describe of the protagonist's hometown, then each detail should either tell us something new about the protagonists outlook on life or illuminate the source of the story's conflict.

Because setting provides much of the visual landscape of the story, it also conveys much of the tone of the story.

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