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Good Foundations: Build Your Story #1

Good Foundations: Build Your Story #1



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Published by Linda L. Hargrove
Explore the basics of storytelling and find tools to help you get started telling your life story. This is the first in the four-part series. An excellent tool for memoir writers, ghost writers, and fiction writers alike.
Explore the basics of storytelling and find tools to help you get started telling your life story. This is the first in the four-part series. An excellent tool for memoir writers, ghost writers, and fiction writers alike.

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Published by: Linda L. Hargrove on May 06, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Good Foundations
Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get much right. The purpose of this exercise is towarm up your literary muscle. For further reading on writing terms visit the library orgoogle ‘how to write’. You’ll see there are many more words about writing that canhelp you build your story -- be it fiction, nonfiction, or memoir. (
The answers are given on the last page
Plot is
a.the highest point of tension or conflict in a bookb.the interaction between the ‘good’ guy and the ‘bad’ guyc.a series of interconnected incidents that make up a book
The story hook is
a.the ‘grabber’ or ‘teaser’ at the beginning of the storyb.the unique angle from which the story is toldc.the practice of giving misleading clues like in a mystery
Flashback is
a.anything written in the past tenseb.a memory or reflection that interrupts the action of a scenec.a reaction a character has to a bad memory
Climax is
a.a well-paced fight sceneb.the end of the story or bookc.the point of highest dramatic tension in a book
Setting is
a.the time and place in which a story occursb.the arrangement of text on the pagec.the practice of starting a book with an epilogue
©2006 Linda Leigh Hargrove | Linda@LLHargrove.com
1. c2. a3. b4. c5. a6. a7. c8. b9. c
Dialogue is
a.a conversation in a story or bookb.a literary term for parenthetical thoughtsc.two or more journal entries
Theme is
a.another name for the introductory prologueb.a musical score included in the back of a bookc.the overarching idea or message in a story or book
Purple Prose is
slang for high literatureb.an overly ornate or flowery way of writinc.books written during the Victorian era
Cliffhanger is
a.fast-paced writinb.a book that doesn’t sellc.the practice of ending a chapter with the character in a precarious or diresituation
©2006 Linda Leigh Hargrove | Linda@LLHargrove.com
lements of a Story
A good story has certain key ingredients.
Whether we’re talking about fiction, nonfiction, ormemoir – it should be supported by the following basic elements.
A beginning, a middle, and an end.
Every story has them – a beginning, a middle, and an end. Each section, flowing seamlessly into thenext, has a special ‘signature.’In the beginning you’ll introduce all or most of your major characters and set up the primary conflict. Agood beginning starts with a good lead or hook – something to ‘grab’ the reader and propel them into the story.In the middle you’ll want to build on that original conflict, complicating it with a twist and a turn.Middles are used to flesh out your main character’s personalities and motivations.In the end you’ll bring the conflict to a logical and satisfying close and resolve your main character’sdilemma. Remember, not all endings are happy but that’s okay; that’s real life.
In your memoir, the main character is you. Your job is to honestly portray yourself (and others in yourstory) without bias and with as much flavor and detail as possible. Avoid flat or one-dimensional, orstereotypical depictions of people. Strive to show how you and others change over the course of the tale.
Literary conflicts make for a good story, or memoir. Conflicts, those trials of the heart and clashes of wills, can be good things. They bring body to the story and build suspense. They make you ask, ‘howcan she succeed against such odds?’ Major conflict is the result of an external force putting pressureon the goals and motivations of the main person in the story. So much so that the person feels there’sno easy way out.Conflict can be grouped into four categories: man vs. God (or nature); man vs. society; man vs. man;man vs. self. Conflict can also be seen as either internal or external. The interplay of internal andexternal conflict moves the story along, giving it a life of its own. The stronger the two are, the better the story.
This is the point of highest emotion or drama in your story. All the conflicts and complications come to a head at this moment in the story. The tension falls away after this point and the story line movesquickly toward resolution.
The resolution ties everything together and answers all questions (directly or indirectly). This ending should be logical and satisfying. Your resolution doesn’t have to give solutions necessarily justanswers to the questions raised in your beginning.
©2006 Linda Leigh Hargrove | Linda@LLHargrove.com

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