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The Pecman

The 36 Dramatic Situations

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Just caught this on Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Thirty-Si...atic_Situations

as well as this:

http://www.straightdope.com/columns/001124.html

http://www.tennscreen.com/plots.htm

I think in terms of practicality, the latter makes the most sense to me. Lots of interesting "jumping off" ideas for stimulating stories.

You can see when you start combining the basic ideas, you can more or less summarize every famous book or film ever written. It's rare to encounter an idea so unique, it doesn't quite fit into one of these categories.

But it's the extras -- the characters, the writing technique, the structure, the point of view -- that make the work memorable. There's no color-by-the-numbers trick to creating a story from scratch, but it's still an interesting exercise to go down the list.

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The first and third links are quite interesting. The middle one, not so much.

I like all that being out there as a resource. Many people need help getting started but even more people need help with the ending. To me, that's harder to write than the beginning.

I write the first chapter first. Then I write a detailed (1/2 page) idea of where I'm heading in. Then I try and get there. Obviously, my characters, being evil sots sometimes confound me and I must alter my course, but that's the general plan.

Endings: we did all that and NOW WHAT? How do we leave the reader satisfied, wanting more, or ready to hang us from a tree? So many possibilities none of them easy.

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