Bristol Duncan Writes

News, Views & How To's

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)


USS Yellowstone–Go GO Dancer

The snowstorm turned out to be the winter storm of the century for Virginia. I reported aboard the USS Yellowstone in 12″ of snow, having not slept in three days.

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San Antonio

Robin didn’t like that apartment so we moved and as my saving dwindled so did our romance, surely it was just a coincidence.  Eventually…

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Satan’s Alluring Form

On August 3rd of the same year I canceled the wedding, I observed what I can still say was the finest derriere I have ever had the pleasure of observing. It belonged to a girl named Robin who was moving into the apartment that shared an entrance balcony with mine.

Have no doubt; Satan comes in many alluring forms.

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Girl Back Home

While I was stationed on the Kitty Hawk, I had a girl waiting for me back home. At least I thought she was waiting. Let’s call her Rebecca. One day when I called home, my brother David asked me when Rebecca and I broke up. Turned out he was attending the same community college she was. Being the a-hole that he is he laughed when he told me he had seen her sucking face with a couple of different guys around campus.

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Navy – USS Kitty Hawk

I joined the Navy because I could not wait to get away from my father and it was the quickest way of achieving that goal. I joined as a Data Processing Technician (i.e. Software Engineer) because my color blind eyes kept me out of the nuclear power program.

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Sex In High School

I worked as a sacker/stocker at Mitchell’s Grocery from August 3 in my 14th year until I went on activity duty in the U.S. Navy on August 3rd at 17 years of age. The store had a walk-in produce cooler that never got as cold as it should. I mention this because most of the girls I went to school with pulled me into that cooler to talk privately at one time or another. More often than not, they had a question about sex, to do with their boyfriend of course because I was always in the friend zone. If not at work then they would find me on a beach near my house. Years later I heard this joke that made me ponder:

“Almost dying is kind of like sex in high school. If you ever found out how many times it almost happened to you, you’d be amazed.”

Anyway, during high school, Dale was my best male friend. I have talked to him twice since I left Pottsboro. Both of those times were when I went back home on leave shortly after joining. I never had a clue and don’t know for a fact but I heard he came out of the closet and has a “life partner” now.

Doors of Life

When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.

Car Wreck

At 15, maybe 16, I recall waking up in a hospital with numerous injuries including both clavicles broken.  I don’t recall anything to do with what lead up to it.  I’m told I was driving a car with my sister Monique on our way to a movie.  A car driven by a Sherman, Texas high school student who had been drinking struck us on the driver side as I pulled away from a stop sign. Monique was capitulated 40 feet into a field across the street.  The driver of the other car was decapitated.  Monique says I picked her up and carried out of the field back to the street as the Ambulance was arriving.  They turned the phone in my hospital room off after I got a couple of calls from kids in Sherman threatening to cut my head off.  This incident left a scar on my chin I’ve seen in the mirror every day since.

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!

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