March 8th, 2016

BrainUnderRepair

Writing Excuses 11.10: Idea, As Genre, with Nancy Fulda

Writing Excuses 11.10: Idea, As Genre, with Nancy Fulda

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2016/03/06/11-10-idea-as-genre-with-nancy-fulda/

Key Points: The elemental genre idea story. Not MICE idea. Idea, question, what if? Fascination is the key emotion driving the idea story. What is this, what is happening? Mental exploration, ramifications, consequences, and poking. The reader needs to be fascinated, although the character may not be. Outside of SF/F, often close to mystery, drama, thriller. E.g., mystery looks at why did this happen and who did it, while the idea story looks at the ramifications of it. Beware of falling into world builder's disease -- put in character responses, and give the reader cues to understand and feel, not just details. Think about what could go wrong, who reacts to it, who gains or loses. Show how the idea changes familiar activities. Didactic stories and agendas often use idea stories. But the idea story really comes alive at the intersection with a strong character. Make sure that someone has a personal stake and consequences in the idea. For a story, start with an idea, then add in character, plot, setting, conflict.
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[Brandon] I like how this discussion's been going. I don't know if we've drilled yet into enough practical advice on how to write these. Fortunately, we're going to come back to this topic in a couple of weeks. So wait for it then, and we'll try to drill into the hows and whys you use this. Until then, we have some homework for you. Dan is going to give us our homework.
[Dan] All right. What we want you to do now is to go out and find a cool idea. Find a science blog or find a cool new piece of technology somewhere in the world or a great idea for a magic system you have floating around in your head. Find an idea, and then brainstorm 20 stories you could tell about it. Conflicts that could arise, using that idea as the core.
[Brandon] All right. Nancy, thank you so much for joining us.
[Nancy] Any time.
[Howard] Can you come back in two weeks?
[Nancy] Absolutely.
[Brandon] This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses, now go write.