Podcast #128: We chat with Kent C Dodds about why he loves React and discuss what life was like in the dark days before Git. Listen now.
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Screenplays are collaborative, whether you like it or not. Actors will say the lines. Directors will alter the tone. The photographer will create their own vision. And the producers will hire other screenwriters to "fix" your screenplay because they have spent a great deal of money and will hire more experts than they need. The star will have some demands. ...


33

There is a joke that we always told each other in my school when we had to analyze texts or poetry that goes something like this: Teacher: What did the author mean when he said that the curtains are blue? Pupil 1: The curtains are a replacement for the endless skies that can't be seen from the inside. They are the narrators way to connect to the ...


32

Character driven is typically about life changes (or life ending) for a character, basically the character(s) undergo some kind of deep emotional transformation that is life-changing. Becoming a sexualized adult, breaking out of an abusive relationship, losing a child or parent. However, in the process of this, the world and society and people are not really ...


30

You cannot prevent that suspicion altogether; especially because that is your plan. Which means your two characters are heterosexual; so you can't really use homosexuality as a show-stopper. I would suggest you make it clear that one of them is already in love, and the other one knows it. If your guy is a jerk, that may be because he is unhappy, the woman ...


29

Screenplays are also very difficult to sell, for a first-timer. Books are quite a bit easier. Unlike a screenplay, a book is in its final form, and relatively easy to produce, big publishers can do it cheap, in the single-digit thousands, and have the contacts to get it reviewed and advertised. Screenplays can cost tens of millions to produce, they are a ...


26

There are several ways to have more than one language in your world. Here are some ideas: Your characters might be conversant in more than one language. If your characters are high-born or a hereditary merchants, it makes perfect sense for foreign languages to be part of their education. You can even mention they have an accent, or have trouble ...


26

You have the legal right to reuse elsewhere what you post on Stack Exchange. It's your content. When posting to SE, you give SE a nonexclusive license to use it, and doing so requires that it's your content to license in the first place; see the terms of use for the details, it's referred to as Subscriber Content. So nothing legal would prevent you from ...


19

The main problem with trying to estimate something like this is that, even if two writers used the same very detailed plot summary to write a novel, they might produce works that aren't close to being the same length, because of the way they write. Some authors are much more "concise" than others; for example, Voltaire's Candide has been described as a 1,...


18

Arena driven story: A man crashes his airplane in the desert, breaking his leg. His radio doesn't work. If he stays there he will die. He splints his leg, takes all the water he can carry, and tries to walk out. Or make it a man and woman, in the arctic. Make it Tom Hanks in Castaway; he is stranded alone on an island and wants to return to civilization. Or ...


16

You can work around the language barrier the same way we do in real life: have someone act as a translator. There are three ways of introducing such a character: Option 1: The moment the need for a translator arises, one of your characters randomly sticks his hand up and goes, "Oh, I speak language X!" Don't do this, except for comedy value (see: Airplane!)....


16

Interpretation arises from uncertainty, so to some degree, you can control whether there will be multiple interpretations or not. Interpretation is what happens when you ask the reader to "fill in the blanks", and there is enough material around those blanks to have an idea of what might be in there. Achieving multiple interpretations is a complicated art, ...


15

For fiction that can accommodate different POVs, dividing those up per author not only addresses this problem but can be a feature. For cases where you want a unified voice, if you can't get a tough editor like Lauren Ipsum suggested, try having the authors edit each other's sections. In technical-writing teams I've found that this drives the material ...


15

It is possible that this reader is one of thse who likes to pair characters in relationships that need not even be telegraphed. There are several ways to do this. Introduce other potential love interests as red herrings. Man dates a couple of them, coming to realize that the first woman is really a better match for him. She has been checking out the cute ...


14

The "first draft" and extensive re-writing you alluded to is often what "pantsers" - people who write by the seat of their pants, without outlines, produce. Those aren't what I would really call a first draft, since they can be unstructured messes or streams of consciousness (though they can sometimes be good). They then take that material and structure it, ...


13

To be honest, until a story passes a certain threshold of completeness I don't think it can be determined if it is worthwhile or not. Pretty much every awesome plot can be summarized in a way that sounds dumb, and every lame plot can be made to sound interesting; so the storyline alone is not enough to decide. In fact, I think that none of the other elements ...


13

1) Might one ask why the character destined to die is named... Cancer? I'm just calling him "Charlie" for the rest of this discussion. 2) Does Charlie have any agency, life, personality, or background of his own, or is his purpose in the story to be fridged and provide manpain for the MC? I'm actually not asking that idly. You are creating a character ...


13

Forget your story for a moment and revel in how this loss makes you feel. A loss of treasured words is a pain which every writer eventually encounters. It is agony, but it is also an opportunity. In this moment, while sadness, anger and self-reproach are burning within you, put pen to paper and capture how you feel. Use first person perspective and go ...


12

There is no harm in starting Nanowrimo with a basic plot outline. Writing without plotting is very hard, and few people other than Stephen King can pull it off, as I said in another answer. The reason many people fail at writing is because they fail to finish anything. Everyone has great ideas, about books that will become best sellers, movies that will win ...


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Fearing procrastination is procrastination ;) First: No-one said you are not allowed to develop a character when pantsing a novel. But if you take three days to add detail on detail for just one character, then you are doing it wrong. Sit down and write your story. If you encounter the problem, that you need more information about one character to go on, ...


12

Try plotting backwards. The writers of House, MD often worked this way. They figured out some esoteric disease or ailment (or perhaps something not so esoteric but easy to confuse with other problems) and then worked backwards to lay red herrings and misdirection. So you have the ending you want (heroine gets macguffin). Work backwards from there. Each ...


12

Plot-driven vs character-driven is a spectrum rather than a dichotomy. But generally speaking, character-driven means that the plot is primarily guided by characters reacting to other characters, while plot-driven (or event-driven might be a better term) means that the plot is primarily guided by character reactions to external events.


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Every writer has their own way. In a very general sense you either write as a discovery or write with a plan. It seems like you have a good idea. Write it. Since you haven't discovered your next step as you wrote the idea, you're now stuck. If you still want to try and discover your story but you're stuck at the end of Chapter 1 with no idea where to go ...


12

Because maintaining suspense over who will live and who will die is only one of a story's many goals. And in most stories, it's not even a very important one. The fact that The Protagonist Survives is the flip side of the truism that We're Telling The Protagonist's Story. Since what we're telling is the story of one person, or a small group of people, it ...


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If the protagonist doesn't know the world just as much as the reader, then you're in an enviable spot; it means that practically every revelation about this 'new world' is going to be shown to the reader as the protag discovers it. In essence, just have the protagonist organically discover the ins and outs of the new world through exploration, asking the ...


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The characters in it couldn't possibly behave like I initially thought. This was due to some nuances of the story that I developed while writing. I think this is a natural and positive aspect of the 2-step writing process. The creative writer throws darts blindly and hopes most of them land on a target of unknown shape and size, making them "good ...


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If your genre or subgenre is "Romance", then it's ALMOST impossible to do so. What you're presenting is a request for something that romance authors are always trying to do. The only ways to really skirt around people suspecting Alice and Bob will wind up together is as follows: Don't genre your story as a romance. People are privy to romance genre tropes ...


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What keeps me motivated is I like writing for its own sake, it is my hobby, it can make me laugh, it makes me feel good to have figured things out, and for crafting a piece of art. Like other people's non-passive hobbies (painting, woodworking, car restoration, writing music) it is an outlet for my imagination. It gives me something to think about that isn't ...


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