HOW

HOW

A Lesson by Domenic Luciani
"

the first thing many writers overlook when writing a story.

"

HOW is something that is necessary, not optional for a good story. If you fail to ask HOW, your story will be a waste of time and effort.

 

When some writers think of a story, they think of only that particular set of events that occur within the story's time span. When asking HOW, you must think beyond that. Your characters didn't just pop out of holes in the ground, someone gave birth to them, raised them, and through interaction with other characters and certain events came to be in the situation in which the story is about.

 

Someone built the house your character is in. If your writing a crazy fantasy story that takes place in a world where everyone is either a mage or a swordsmen, you're not asking HOW. If your story only follows a single character the entire time, there were still farmers who grew the food that's in the market you're character is walking through. Someone needed to bring that food to the market. Someone needed to build the houses, the bridges, the castles. Someone needed to make the clothes, the furniture, those little umbrella things they put in your drinks. Nothing just appears out of nowhere.

 

The best way to practice figuring out HOW is to look around at your everyday life. Look at any object you see and think about it. Someone made that refridgerator or that television. You know it didn't just appear in the store, but have you ever really thought about it? The man who made that fridge has a family, a life, friends. Nearly everything in your possesion has a story of it's own.

 

Practice by thinking up an object, a dollar possibly, and picture of where it has traveled from the moment it was printed, to when it was burned in an alleyway by a hobo to keep warm. Not that you have to use that particular scenario.

 

Also, HOW has an effect on the future. remembering a rant by Holly Lisle, the movie The Day The Earth Stood Still had one of the most impractical endings ever introduced. Mankind ended up saved, though they would never be able to use technology again. The writers thought that it would seem like mankind has realized the error of it's ways and would return to being nomadic herders or something. Wrong. Nobody can survive without technology. We rely on it to feed our ever growing population, keep medical facilities open, and so many other things it would be rediculous to write them all down. Bottom line, when people run out of food, they go crazy. The people who have food would most likely be robbed or killed or both within the first few months. Eventually all the food would be gone and money would be basically worthless, so all systems of code, legal and moral, would cease to exist, resulting in world wide panic and possible self genocide. If this HOW is considered, then Klatuu would, in a sense, be the greatest mass murderer in history. Have you thought about that?

 

I'll add a few more basics before I get to the good stuff, so sit tight people.



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Comments

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Posted 2 Years Ago


I just pick up the pen and usually write. I will come to look over this section to get things right.

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Posted 2 Years Ago


I took fondness to the hobo scenario

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Posted 2 Years Ago


I don't usually think about 'How' when writing, I just pick up the pen and write , though now I see I need to think further in order to make my stories better.

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Posted 2 Years Ago


Thank you for this

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Posted 3 Years Ago


interesting, ive never thought about that before.

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Posted 4 Years Ago


The author not only needs to know the HOW but also how much of the HOW to release into the story. A few details scattered here and there gives veracity to the world in which the action of the story takes place. Too much details caused the story to slog its way through a bog.

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Posted 4 Years Ago


Thank you. It helps to extend thoughts.

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Posted 4 Years Ago


If you were to write were everything comes from when writting fantasy, what room will that leave for the actaul story to take place?

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Posted 6 Years Ago


Do you mean we just need to introduce a bit of character background and give our dialogues more depth?

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Posted 6 Years Ago


I read that rant by Holly, too. It was brilliant.

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Added on August 21, 2010
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Author

Domenic Luciani
Domenic Luciani

Buffalo, NY



About
That is my real name, and that is really me in the picture. Like Patrick says, I'm not in the witness protection program. I mostly write books and stories. I like fantasy, or fiction, but if..