Fiction writing strategies/techniques

A hasty, tentative list:


  • Appearance, thought, action, dialogue, direct statements, other characters’ reactions
  • Decisions
  • Stories characters tell characterize them
  • What physical objects do they surround themselves with?


  • Character’s desires made manifest; objections encountered and wrestled with: Desire + Danger = Drama (3D)
  • Surprises and reversals of expectations
  • Increasing danger/tension/risk for the character until a realization/epiphany/climax
  • Conflicts
  • Connections
  • Power shifts


  • Particular Sensory Details: nothing happens nowhere
  • Too much risks boredom unless setting is also characterizing or helping with plot or etc.


  • Repeated words, images


  • Stain window verses plate glass
  • Don’t distract readers from the deep and continuous dream



First sentences

  • Implied question, something at risk

Scenes and summaries

  • Scenes: character’s real time, readers participate/witness, PSD
  • Summaries: compress time, gloss over and use abstractions


  • Sum up
  • Sum up and imply more
  • Echo the beginning

Others that you can think of?

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