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Dan Goodman's prediction and politics journal.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Monday May 17, 2004. Mail: Lofgeornost 75, from Fred Lerner. Account of a trip to Nova Scotia. Letters of comment on politics (British, US, and West Wing), comfort reading, other worthwhile reading. Article on Fred's involvement with information science.
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Recap: Yesterday, during a discussion on "What's needed to start" in rec.arts.sf.composition, I realized that what I need to begin a story is a theme, a situation, and a viewpoint character, in that order.

Yes, one standard piece of fiction writing advice is "Don't write to a theme. Let a theme emerge from the story." But another is "The way you write best may break any and all rules you've ever heard of."

And one thing I've been saying in rasfc is "The way you write best might have nothing to do with what rationally ought to work best."

Today, someone asked how I develop characters. (And how I make them stick to the theme; hers keep doing things she hadn't planned for them.)

I thought it over. Roughly: I decide what they have to make decisions about during the course of the story. The character who has to make a certain decision will have traits which lead him (her, whatever) to be in a situation which will require making that decision.

***Done today: The daily exercise.

"Well Met, Well Met, My Old True Love" -- Sketched out the final scene. Added notes in places where the viewpoint character needs to make important decisions.

Killing Futures -- Added a note on the viewpoint character's background, and how it impels him to make decisions where most people in his world believe there's only one choice.
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