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Collecting Interest

Captive Dreams

Great Expectations: Part I

There is no answer to boredom.  -- Katherine Fullerton Gerould
No one will read your story if it isn’t interesting.  So one of the first problems of a fiction writer is to make his story interesting.  It must be interesting to the writer (else he will not complete it) and it must be interesting to the reader.  Since reader interests vary widely, and in particular may vary from your own, this may seem a shot in the dark, a pig in the poke, a bird in the bush, a vote for…  You get the picture.  But while there is no royal road to story-writing, there are certain peasant footpaths. 
A story usually presents either a Decision to be Made or a Problem to be Solved.  These define two distinct kinds of fictions, sometimes said to be distinguished by having a Story Line or a Plot Line, respectively.  However, today’s remarks apply to both kinds of stories. 
One day, Jimmy decided he would drive the family car to St. Louis.
Okay, we know who has set out to accomplish what.  But it’s not very interesting.  Why would anyone read further?  So, how about:
As the dust from the asteroid strike began settling over the ruins of Denver, Jimmy decided he had better take the family car and high-tail it to St. Louis before the engine became choked with grit.  
That’s better.  We not only know the Situation (drive to St. Louis) but we know why it’s Important.  Try this:
As the dust from the asteroid strike began settling over the ruins of Denver, Jimmy decided he had better take the family car and high-tail it to St. Louis before the engine became choked with grit.  But first he had to tie wooden blocks to his sneakers so his feet could reach the pedals. 
Wait.  He’s a kid?  Why is he driving the family car?  Where are his parents?  Why St. Louis?  WHAT’S GOING ON HERE?
Read more »
The link will go to TOF Spot and a further link to Part II.

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( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
mythusmage
Jun. 10th, 2012 03:15 am (UTC)
Now you can make it more interesting if you said something like...

"One day, Jimmy decided to drive the family car to St. Louis. Despite his age, the car's condition, or the fact St. Louis was now a radioactive crater."
m_francis
Jun. 10th, 2012 04:56 pm (UTC)
Ooh. That's good.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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