The Encyclopedia of Extraordinary Writing

I’ve been able to write a couple thousand words this week. Completed the introduction and the first scene of the book, and made major headway into the second scene, which involves wrestling, falling in love, and failed ambitions.

I’m also working on The Encyclopedia of Extraordinary Writing, a not-for-publication file that examines other writers’ success and how they got there. (I got the idea from Cal Newport’s Study Hacks blog.) The idea of the Encyclopedia is to consciously create my writing career, to purposefully emulate the things I like about others’ writing and others’ careers, and to better understand the craft of writing to, of course, become a better writer.

I’ll post my updates to the Encyclopedia on this website as I research them, under the category of “Encyclopedia.”

For now, the Encyclopedia‘s incomplete table of contents includes:

  1. The Writing Craft
    1. Researching
    2. The writing process (outlining, freewriting, etc.)
      1. Laini Taylor’s Not For Robots site on the writing process. (Her idea of “Exploratory Drafts” is genius.)
      2. Shannon Hale’s blog, especially how to balance being a stay-at-home mom with a writing career.
    3. Books I love and what makes them good
      1. The Queen’s Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
    4. How to write/create:
      1. plot
      2. plot: classical
      3. plot: non-plot and anti-plot elements?
      4. symbolism/metaphor
      5. story spine
      6. subplots
      7. flashback
      8. creating characters
      9. flow of story
      10. intensity: how to build
      11. intensity: how to balance (ups and downs)
      12. making audience care about characters
      13. description (somehow descriptive, but wo long descriptive paragraphs)
      14. dialogue
      15. world creation
      16. universal appeal
      17. raising the stakes
      18. curiosity: making audience curious.
      19. surprise: how to surprise audience
      20. realism: give a life-like experience to audience, wo the dangers of REAL life experience
      21. try different genres?  esp one rigorously defined by convention–and then find a unique way to adhere to or break from the conventions
      22. controlling idea/theme
      23. deep characters
      24. protagonist
      25. antagonist
      26. extra-personal story
      27. psychological story (intra-personal. strictly personal, eg, cowardice)
      28. inter-personal/moral story (invoves others, usu a result of the psychological)
      29. empathizing with characters
      30. antagonist as ally
      31. love interest
      32. supporting characters
      33. amazing beats
      34. great scenes
      35. incredible sequences
      36. mind-blowing acts
      37. breathtaking climax
      38. values of the story
      39. conflict in the story
      40. inner conflict
      41. relational conflict
      42. social conflict
      43. situational conflict (life-death situations)
      44. cosmic conflict (conflict w universe, God, nature)
      45. making the story unexpected
      46. plot/scene/act/climax reversals
      47. inciting incidents
      48. progressive complications/rising action
      49. taking the story to the end of the line
      50. resolution
      51. creating emotion in audience: empathy, mood
      52. foreshadowing
      53. recurring motifs
      54. repetition
      55. contrasts
      56. rhythm/tempo
      57. archetypes
      58. irony
      59. subtext
      60. comedy
      61. romance
  2. Building an audience
    1. Blogging
    2. Networking
  3. A Writer’s Life: examine the successes and careers of other authors

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