Some Words About Words

Quelques Cheap Writing Tricks, par Cory @doctorow

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Mon 20 January 2014

So my favorite, foolproof way to start a story is with a person in a place with a problem, preferably in the first sentence. A named person in a defined setting is a signal to the reader’s human-being-simulator to get started assembling a skeletal frame upon which to hang future details about this "person".

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When you add a ‘‘problem’’ – even something as trivial as a hangnail – you snag the reader’s rubbernecking impulse.

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Now, to keep the reader’s attention, you have to convince her problem-solving systems that this problem-solver is worth paying attention to. That means that your character has to attempt to solve his problem intelligently.

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Regardless of whether your character solves his problem, the "solution" should give rise to a new problem – on which turns even more of the character’s safety, health, wealth, and/or sanity. Rising dramatic tension.

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the stickiest, most nosiness-evoking problems are the ones that involve other people.

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This manifests in human history in all sorts of horrible ways. Whenever you hear about people enduring (or participating in) horrific abuse, chances are the abuse started with small things, little nastinesses that became the new normal. Then the abuse got worse, but just enough worse that those people living within its range became accustomed to it, and then it got worse again.

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A character who wanders into a situation where everyone else is accustomed to an otherwise unbearable level of badness is instantly recognizable and endlessly fascinating, whether that situation is of the rats-eating-faces variety or mere stifling bureaucracy.

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Fiction’s a funny thing. It’s my livelihood and my favorite pastime and my vocation, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that it’s mostly a mystery, and what isn’t a mystery is cheap trickery. And yet, like a pointillist portrait, the individual elements that make up a story are trivial, but they come together to make something (that can be) profound.

Via Locus Mag Online

Ces quelques conseils sur l'écriture sont signés Cory Doctorow — auteur de Little Brother dont j'ai déjà parlé.

J'ai tiré du — long — article original quelques citations, que je pourrais encore résumer ainsi :

Une bonne histoire, c'est un personnage — auquel le lecteur va s'identifier très rapidement — qui va très vite se retrouver confronter à un problème. Et surtout, pour maintenir l'intrigue et le rythme, un bon moyen est de créer de nouveaux problèmes dès que le héros en résout un. Chaque situation, même la plus simple, peut être la base d'une bonne histoire si elle est bien menée, si le héros agit intelligemment et que, surtout, il paraît humain !

Quack1, Techniques d'écriture / Conseils / Cory Doctorow /
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