Liam Meilleur's picture
Liam Meilleur from New Orleans is reading The Fall of Kings by Ellen Kushner & Delia Sherman May 24, 2018 - 1:02pm

This is something I made for my undergrad creative writing students who struggle with excessive exposition. Figured I might as well share it here.  

helpfulsnowman's picture
Community Manager
helpfulsnowman from Colorado is reading But What If We're Wrong? by Chuck Klosterman May 24, 2018 - 2:41pm

This is a great tool! You've got lucky students.

Kedzie's picture
Kedzie from the SF Bay Area is reading The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien May 24, 2018 - 2:58pm

Agreed. Very helpful! 

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal May 25, 2018 - 4:25pm

Huh... that sounds about right.

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated May 25, 2018 - 7:38pm

Is it weird this makes my skin crawl? Like if I find that I've what I think of as any of these I rewrite. Not saying it is BAD just feels like a wet sweater. 

Liam Meilleur's picture
Liam Meilleur from New Orleans is reading The Fall of Kings by Ellen Kushner & Delia Sherman May 26, 2018 - 1:06am

Hi Dwayne,

It's not weird, but it does make me academically curious. What would you be looking to do differently if you happened upon a 3-beat scene in your work?

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal May 26, 2018 - 1:20pm

I use things like this when I'm stuck. Dan Wells's 7 point system is a great one to go to as well. Often, maybe usually, I look to some kind of structure/template that manifests all the time in (good) stories and see how mine fits, and then I see what I'm missing. And it usually occurs to me what that missing piece is, specifically, for my chapter/scene/whatever.

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal May 26, 2018 - 1:38pm

I think maybe Dwayne's knee-jerk (accurate term?) reaction is because he doesn't like being fit into a box. Like, at all. (Totally sympathize.) 

But I look at it kind of through the lens of a Douglas Bader quote I recently found: Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men. And that's why I like little things like this.

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated May 29, 2018 - 6:11pm

@Liam Meilleur - I have a four beat that all my works tends to fall in.

1) Kick the puppy. Emotionally punch the reader in the guy, make them feel something.

2) Don't resolve a damn thing, just end things.

3) Raises more questions than answers.

4) At some point do something that makes sense that gives it a real-world feel. Can be at any spot.

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal June 6, 2018 - 10:30pm

are those actually beats though?

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated June 17, 2018 - 5:03pm

I mean, can't you ask that about anything?