Writing is my life. Life is my hobby. ~Emma Lai

Monday, March 7, 2011

Writing Advice from Edgar Allan Poe

I've been reading Poe's "Philosophy on Composition," and I must say I have a bone to pick with the man. Don't get me wrong, he was an amazing writer, but just because one person's method works for him, doesn't mean it will work for others.

Take, for example, the line, "It is only with the dénouement constantly in view that we can give a plot its indispensable air of consequence, or causation, by making the incidents, and especially the tone at all points, tend to the development of the intention."

For a panster, this would be the death of many a story since often it's not the ending that is revealed, but rather a scene at the beginning or in the middle.

I do like his method of "commencing with the consideration of an effect." My interpretation on that one is essentially pick a theme--what message or feeling do you want your story to deliver. (This would be helpful if faced with a block or lack of inspiration. It also helps establish the tone for the story.)

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