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In this course, author Lisa Cron digs into the craft of writing a compelling story based on what the brain is wired to respond to in every story we hear. Whether you're writing a story from scratch, or revising your story for the umpteenth time, this course offers practical how-to advice, then illustrates it using before-and-after examples. Discover how to craft a first page, zero in on your story's point, create empathy, find a character's secret goals and inner issues, translate generics into specifics, write for suspense, create cause-and-effect connections, build momentum and tension, and deftly implement setups, payoffs, flashbacks, subplots, and foreshadowing.
We know that every setup must have a corresponding well-earned payoff. So as you comb through your story, here are a few handy questions to ask. First, are there any inadvertent setups hiding in your story? Are you sure nothing whispers, implies, or suggests setup without actually meaning it? If there is, cut it out. Remember, an if without a then becomes an elephant roaming the halls of your story, diverting attention from what's the really important.
Second, is there a road from your setup to your payoff? Are you absolutely sure you never tell us about the problem at the very instant it's being solved? Remember, the reader won't care it's been solved unless they know what it cost the protagonists both emotionally and logistically to arrive at the solution, because that's where the attention, anticipation, and suspense comes from. Third, are there clues along the road from setup to payoff? Make sure you aren't assuming that the reader will intuit unwritten clues.
Readers love connecting the dots, but they don't want to have to invent them first. Fourth, do your clues build? When taken together, do the clues form an escalating pattern from which the reader can draw conclusions and anticipate what might happen next. Speaking of what's going to happen next, now it's time for you to go to your exercise files where we have set you up with an example. It's your job to pay it off.
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