Ailurophile A cat-lover.
Assemblage A gathering.
Beleaguer To exhaust with attacks.
Brood To think alone.
Bucolic In a lovely rural setting.
Bungalow A small, cozy cottage.
Chatoyant Like a cat’s eye.
Conflate To blend together.
Cynosure A focal point of admiration.
Dalliance A brief love affair.
Demesne Dominion, territory.
Demure Shy and reserved.
Denouement The resolution of a mystery.
Desultory Slow, sluggish.
Dulcet Sweet, sugary.
Ebullience Bubbling enthusiasm.
Efflorescence Flowering, blooming.
Elision Dropping a sound or syllable in a word.
Elixir A good potion.
Eloquence Beauty and persuasion in speech.
Embrocation Rubbing on a lotion.
Emollient A softener.
Epiphany A sudden revelation.
Erstwhile At one time, for a time.
Ethereal Gaseous, invisible but detectable.
Evanescent Vanishing quickly, lasting a very short time.
Forbearance Withholding response to provocation.
Furtive Shifty, sneaky.
Gambol To skip or leap about joyfully.
Gossamer The finest piece of thread, a spider’s silk.
Halcyon Happy, sunny, care-free.
Harbinger Messenger with news of the future.
Imbrication Overlapping and forming a regular pattern.
Imbroglio An altercation or complicated situation.
Imbue To infuse, instill.
Incipient Beginning, in an early stage.
Ineffable Unutterable, inexpressible.
Ingénue A naïve young woman.
Inglenook A cozy nook by the hearth.
Insouciance Blithe nonchalance.
Inure To become jaded.
Labyrinthine Twisting and turning.
Lagniappe A special kind of gift.
Lagoon A small gulf or inlet.
Languor Listlessness, inactivity.
Lassitude Weariness, listlessness.
Leisure Free time.
Lilt To move musically or lively.
Lissome Slender and graceful.
Lithe Slender and flexible.
Love Deep affection.
Mellifluous Sweet sounding.
Moiety One of two equal parts.
Mondegreen A slip of the ear.
Nemesis An unconquerable archenemy.
Offing The sea between the horizon and the offshore.
Onomatopoeia A word that sounds like its meaning.
Opulent Lush, luxuriant.
Palimpsest A manuscript written over earlier ones.
Panacea A solution for all problems
Panoply A complete set.
Pastiche An art work combining materials from various sources.
Penumbra A half-shadow.
Petrichor The smell of earth after rain.
Plethora A large quantity.
Propinquity An inclination.
Pyrrhic Successful with heavy losses.
Quintessential Most essential.
Ratatouille A spicy French stew.
Ravel To knit or unknit.
Riparian By the bank of a stream.
Ripple A very small wave.
Scintilla A spark or very small thing.
Seraglio Rich, luxurious oriental palace or harem.
Serendipity Finding something nice while looking for something else.
Summery Light, delicate or warm and sunny.
Sumptuous Lush, luxurious.
Surreptitious Secretive, sneaky.
Susquehanna A river in Pennsylvania.
Susurrous Whispering, hissing.
Talisman A good luck charm.
Umbrella Protection from sun or rain.
Untoward Unseemly, inappropriate.
Vestigial In trace amounts.
Wherewithal The means.
Woebegone Sorrowful, downcast.
(via so much to tell you)
So everyone should know what a Point of View (POV) is. It’s how the story is written, who’s telling it. There are three different POVs, and they are as follows: first, second, and third. Easy, right? If you can count to three, you know your POVs.
This is when your story is written using I and Me.
Example: “I went to the store today, but the lines were so long that I ended up punching some dude in the face.”
- First person is very good at getting the reader to identify with the character quickly.
- The reader can easily see the main character’s thoughts and feelings.
- Many writers find first person very easy to write. After all, you spend most of your life speaking in first person, so you’ve got plenty of practice.
- You’re restricted to only what your viewpoint character knows.
- The mirror cliché. If you plan on having your main character describe herself, it’s going to be awfully hard to come up with something that isn’t the mirror cliché.
- First person can seem gimmicky if not done well.
- You have to be careful about not starting too many sentences with the word “I”.
- If your main character doesn’t have a distinctive voice, the narration will fall flat.
- Narrators can be unreliable. Personally, I like this. While writing Thief, I experimented with first person POV, and I made my main character unreliable. However, first person didn’t really work out for me, so I ended up going with third.
- Don’t use first person if you have multiple viewpoint characters. Third is much better suited for that. While it can be done, it’s often very awkward.
This is when your story addresses the reader using You. Honestly, I’ve never seen it used outside those Choose Your Own Adventure stories that used to be popular when I was a kid.
Example: “You aren’t going to send this blog anonymous hate because you’re a good person.”
I’m not going to get into second person because it’s so uncommon outside of novelty stories, and I can’t say I have much of an opinion about it. I even used Google to try and find some, but there were only a handful out there, and I’ve never heard of any of them.
Third Person Omniscient
This is when your story is told by some unnamed narrator and uses Him and Her.
Example: “Mabel went to go get lemonade. Also, that hobo, whom she has never met, really likes puppies.”
- Having multiple viewpoint characters is easy.
- Describing scenes is easier. (This one might just be me, but it always seemed weird to me when the narrator of a first person POV novel randomly starts describing the intricate details of a wood carving.)
- Exposition is easy to write.
- Some books require an intimacy that’s only gotten through first person.
- It’s easy to go overboard with the exposition if you’re not careful.
Third Person Limited
This is when your narrator knows only what the main character knows. It’s almost like a meeting ground between third omniscient and first..
Example: “Mabel doesn’t like hobos, so she walks on the opposite side of the street.”
- You get both intimacy with the characters and perspective.
- Keeping the POV consistent can be tricky. You need to constantly check and make sure you’re not slipping into third omniscient.
That’s about all I can think of about this subject. Really, it comes down to what you’re comfortable writing. Some people are really awesome at writing first person, some are really awesome at third person. If you’re not very good at one of them, you can get better. It just requires time and effort to practice.
by Kelsey Ruger at TheMoleskin
WRITEWORLD NOTE: This article was originally written for using narrative to tell business stories. We think it’s pretty broadly useful, though, so when you see the word business in the titles, just know that the methods and advice found in the article are helpful for everyone. Without further ado…
When you hear the names George Lucas or Stephen Spielberg, what comes to mind? Most people would answer ‘movie director’, but with movies like Star Wars, Raiders of The Lost Ark, The Color Purple and E.T under their belts these directors are also master storytellers. How did they become so good at telling stories? While both Spielberg and Lucas are fans of Joseph Campbell and comparative mythology you don’t have to become an expert in mythology before telling your story.
The biggest lesson we can take from these two directors is that stories shouldn’t be just a string of events mashed together. The result of properly using basic elements like plot, character, throughlines, setting and mythic structure is a story that the audience can connect with on a deep subconscious level.
A good story draws inspiration from the past to engage audiences
Good stories don’t just happen. An audience really connects with your story when the plot, characters and other elements fade together to create a unified narrative. This idea of “unification” was first discuss in Aristotle’s Poetics. In it, Aristotle says that a good story is unified and focuses on an extended action with a beginning, middle and end.
Over the centuries Aristotle’s basic definition of story has evolved and now, some stories are character driven (the character moves the story forward because of their choices) while others are plot driven (the action moves the story forward and the characters react), however all good stories still have a hero (“your main character”) and some type of mission(“journey” or “challenge”) that the hero must complete. Why? Because it still works and audiences are still drawn to story structures they can connect with.
A good business story has good flow and makes a point
How many times have you watched a movie only to say to yourself, “What was the point of that?” That shouldn’t happen. Great stories don’t stall, sputter or leave the audience wondering what happened. The sequence of events should make sense and assist with the development and movement of the story. You keep stories moving with what Victoria Lynn Schmidt calls a dramatic through line. A through line helps answers “what’s the point?”. There are 5 basic throughlines that you can use.
- The main character succeeds (through courage, ingenuity, special skill, special weapon)
- The main character fails (through circumstances, weakness, obsession)
- The main character abandons the goal
- The main character’s goal is undefined
- The audience creates the goal
Notice that I said that the through line helps answer the question. Your story still needs structure to make the journey toward answering that question seamless.
A good business story use a familiar structure to capture attention
The structure you choose helps ties the pieces of your story together seamlessly. Whether you realize it or not, stories that succeed do so because they evolve according the audiences expectation of unity (beginning, middle and end). There are lots of story structures that you could use, but I recommend the ones that are commonly understood archetypes across all cultures and can be applied easily in a business setting (e.g. they present universally understood ideas).
- Traditional – The traditional 3 act structure has a beginning, middle and end. The key to using this structure in a business setting is a well defined inciting event, protagonist and climax. Those elements will drive your story.
- The Hero’s Quest – The quest is probably the most commonly understood structure. A hero faces a challenge and sets out to overcome the challenge. The driving force in this structure is the pursuit of the goal whether it is tangible or intangible.
- The Search – The search is about man’s search for meaning. It differs from the hero’s quest in that the goal in these stories is always a character’s search for the discovery of something fundamental about who they are or who they will become.
- Stranger In A Strange Land – This is a story of change. The hero is put into a new situation. Maybe they don’t know the local ‘rules’ or customs. Everything seems unfamiliar. The character spends the majority of the story getting accustomed to their new surroundings or circumstances. In most cases the hero learns in the end that the ‘strange land’ wasn’t that strange after all.
- Boy Meets Girl (Romance) – This one is simple – boy meets girl, boys falls in love…but then what? Since stories need tension to move forward the “but then what…” part is really what drives this type of story. What roadblocks, conflicts, or obstacles stand in the way of the two lovers in the story? The key to remember in constructing these stories is love is hard to find and if you do find it, it’s hard to keep.
- Coming Of Age (Transformation) – A coming of age story is ultimately about the change, transformation or maturation of the character. In this type of story the character has to re-learn comfort as they near maturity. That character may change significantly during the course of the story or simple figure out they somehow knew the answers all along. The experiences they gain drive the story.
Good stories connect to the audience with good character development
You always want your audience to be emotionally engaged in any story you present. The best way to make sure that happens is by creating well rounded characters. The audience needs to be able to identify with the characters because it is through them that the audience relates to the story. Look at the following example:
When I graduated from college I thought I was on top of the world. I had been in the top 10% of my high school class, done well in college, and was one of only a few college students that had been hired by the consulting firm I was working for. I hadn’t experienced a lot of work failure at that point in my life, so I felt pretty good about how I was progressing.
In this segment from the story I used in the introduction, I was the character. My goal was to give enough detail about who I was at the time to allow the audience to identify with the ‘character’ in the story. Don’t spare the detail here. Use as much detail as needed to draw your audience in.
Good stories use a vivid setting to their advantage
A story must have a location or setting to orient the audience. It sets the place, time and circumstances of the story, and helps the audience gain the context needed to understand where you are coming from. As with creating your characters, don’t spare the detail when defining the location.
Again, using stories takes practice. At the end of the day if you want them to work you have to think about what people really care about. Instead of asking “what do I want to present?” ask yourself “what can I do to help them relate to the message I have?” In every case focusing on our need for connection will be more successful.
Are you still stuck for ideas for National Novel Writing Month? Or are you working on a novel at a more leisurely pace? Here are 102 resources on Character, Point of View, Dialogue, Plot, Conflict, Structure, Outlining, Setting, and World Building, plus some links to generate Ideas and Inspiration.
CHARACTER, POINT OF VIEW, DIALOGUE
Advantages, Disadvantages and Skills (character traits)
Family Echo (family tree website)
PLOT, CONFLICT, STRUCTURE, OUTLINE
SETTING, WORLD BUILDING
TOOLS and SOFTWARE
My Writing Nook (online text editor; free)
Bubbl.us (online mind map application; free)
Freemind (mind map application; free; Windows, Mac, Linux, portable)
XMind (mind map application; free; Windows, Mac, Linux, portable)
Liquid Story Binder (novel organization and writing software; free trial, $45.95; Windows, portable)
Scrivener (novel organization and writing software; free trial, $39.95; Mac)
SuperNotecard (novel organization and writing software; free trial, $29; Windows, Mac, Linux, portable)
yWriter (novel organization and writing software; free; Windows, Linux, portable)
JDarkRoom (minimalist text editor; free; Windows, Mac, Linux, portable)
AutoRealm (map creation software; free; Windows, Linux with Wine)