Writing Well

Get Cookin'!

When you write a short story or other narrative, you can rework an incident from your own life, come up with something completely fictional, or create a hybrid of fact and fantasy. Easier said than done, eh? Here are a few hints to get you started:

The following story chart is an enjoyable and effective way to plot your ideas:

Writer's Block

Just because something happened in real life doesn't mean that you have to include it in your plot—even if you're writing an autobiography or a narrative based on a true event. Instead, select the details and events that work toward a single effect. Remember: Art is life transformed.

Write Angles

In a fable, the theme is stated outright at the end in the form of a moral.

The earliest stories we read are fairy tales, fables, legends, and myths. You can start your own story by modeling it on a fable, such as this one by Aesop:

The Man, His Boy, and the Donkey

Use the same moral (or one of your own) and create some new characters to act out the plot.

book cover

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing Well © 2000 by Laurie Rozakis, Ph.D.. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book direct from the publisher, visit the Penguin USA website or call 1-800-253-6476. You can also purchase this book at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.

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