The Healer and the Pirate

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Notes from Tus-con Part 1

I went to a bunch of panels at Tus-con, mostly geared towards writing. The first one I went to was titled something along the lines of "There are 32 ways to write a story but only 1 plot" with panelists Bruce Davis, Dennis McKiernan, Weston Ochse, and Patricia Briggs. Here are a few points I picked up that might help other writers.

Dennis McKiernan said the story begins when something changes and the adventure begins when something goes wrong. He suggested you mull over an idea to figure out if it's worth writing about. He keeps a Word doc of all his ideas, but Patricia Briggs noted she won't read the ideas if she writes them down.

Patricia Briggs said "I don't have ideas. I have characters." She starts with unhappy characters and throws them in a room with other unhappy characters (happy characters don't have stories). She said the one plot is characters solving a problem. As for outlining, if she knows how it ends, she doesn't care.

Weston Ochse noted that everything he's read is a mystery (characters discovering things), and "every story is a mystery at its heart."

Bruce Davis finds it hard to write nice characters because when you're in someone's head, you don't think nice things. He doesn't think total heroes exist, but total jerks do!

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