Bristol Duncan Writes

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Writing A Storyline

My notes for writing an effective storyline.

Single sentence of 25 words or less.

Tell only the most interesting thread of the story.

Do not reference more than two characters.

Reference the character(s) that must overcome the biggest obstacle, has the most significant paradox, severe contradiction in personal values and/or plays the strongest role in the story.

Unless it’s a famous character like Yoda, don’t use the characters’ name. Instead, provide a description using adjectives that evoke feelings of sympathy (e.g. vulnerable), places them outside the norm (e.g. telepathic), or both (e.q. disabled).

Omit anything that isn’t absolutely essential to leaving an impression compelling the reader to want more.

Look at the New York Times best sellers list has lots of examples – Click Here.


An escort, desperate to pay for her upcoming wedding, is trapped in a box and tormented.

A closer look at the telepathic waitress Sookie Stackhouse, her family and, of course, her lovers.

BUY IT AT AMAZON: The Sookie Stackhouse Companion (Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood)


The Writing Process, Step-by-Step

There are lots talented people who make a career out of telling people how to write. I leave the dispensing of insight into creating believable characters, writing the perfect scene and selling your masterpiece to other clever folk. Here I share the notes I’ve taken on the process I personally follow. Mayhaps, you the reader will find it useful or offer some advise for refining the process. Either way, enjoy!

Click Here To Read The Rest Of This Post

Components of Fiction

Fiction has five primary components which help you create an experience for your readers:

  • Story world
  • Characters
  • Plot
  • Theme
  • Style

Story World:

  • Universe and/or world where the story takes place
  • Often called setting or sometimes even milieu
  • Geography including rooms, buildings, cities and/or national boundaries
  • Races of intelligent beings, plants and/or animals
  • Political, economic, religious and social structures
  • Languages
  • Types of work and entertainment


  • Players on the stage of the story.  Each characters has a long and detailed past, known as backstory
  • Each character must have abstract ambitions and concrete goals


  • Series of actions characters take to move the story forward
  • Has all of the following layers:
    • Synopsis
    • Single-sentence summary of the story
    • Three-act structure
    • Scene
      Several paragraphs perhaps pages of action that takes place at a single place and time
    • Lowest layer of plot is the paragraph


  • The meaning of the story beyond the bare story that it tells
  • Theme does not have to be profound
  • Some authors start by choosing a theme at the expense of creating a solid story world, three-dimensional characters or a convincing plot.  The result is a sermon masquerading as a story.  Beware of sermons


  • This is the authors very own and no two are exactly the same
  • One may study world, characters, plot and even them but style, style is something one must develop on their own.

These are notes I’ve taken along the way, jotted down here for my own quick reference and perhaps the benefit of others as well.

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