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Every author wants to write it.  The one liner that is Remembered and oft repeated.  It is possible for all writers to write theirs.  It really isn't that difficult.  All one has to do is remember a few things.

First of all dialogue needs to sound natural.  A juvenile delinquent would not use formal language any more than a politician would use street slang.  Knowing who your characters are helps with how they speak.  A word to the wise, if you are unfamiliar with the way a certain group of people speak, do not simply make it up.  It will come across as insincere and phony.  It is better to do a little research.

Another way to have better dialogue is to listen.  Not so much as to what people are saying, but how they are saying it.  The demented elves know that sometimes the best oneliner is the one spoken unintentionally, usually an off the cuff remark.  It is highly recommended that should you hear that precious gem uttered, write it down.  You never know when you will want to use it.  Keeping a log of phrases will also help with getting a feel for natural language.

One last item to remember, as a story is an extension of the author himself, it is not a bad idea to put yourself in the shoes of the characters you create.  Ask yourself, " what would I say in this situation?".  It may make the process of writing dialogue easier.  It will also flow more natural because the author is being himself.



 
 
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The recent purchase of a new cellphone has brought the demented elves to a realization.  One that will divert attention away from the storytelling process itself and address a common dilemma many writers have, most of us new writers that is:  What app or software should I use?

When it comes to apps, one should use caution.  This isn't just for writing apps, this the rule for any app will promise you the world, but many, especially the free ones, simply don't deliver.  In fact, many do nothing.  My suggestion to you is, read what they say it will do and then read the reviews.  That will tell you if it is something you would use.  A word of caution though, don't believe all the reviews you read since there are always sour grapes and those that don't like anything.  I suggest you read all the reviews and look for common problems in each.  In the end, you have to find what works for you.

When it comes to software, there is a lot out there, and depending on what you want to write depends on the software you need.  Obviously, if you are simply writing letters, reports, or even magazine articles, all you need is a word processing program.  For that matter, an old fashioned typewriter might suite your fancy.  These are all items that do not require any specialized formatting or elements.  If you are a writing a novel, you may wish to stick with the word processing; however, you have to work with what makes you happy.  As for formatting software, the demented elves have one piece of advice:  Test drive the different software using the demo programs before spending a penny.  many are quite costly and it would be a shame to spend money only to find out it wasn't what you wanted.  In regards to making any recommendations for software, the demented elves will not do so because each has something different to offer and it all is a matter of writer preference.

In the end, whether it is for learning to write or for formatting, one must find the apps and software that works for the individual.  There is no one right way to do things (unless it is the format of the document itself).  That said, remember buyers remorse can be painful so know what you are buying, even the free stuff.  Just remember, there is no substitute for hard work, so there is no magic app (or software) that will write your story for you.  Have fun with the programs, but put in the work.

 
 
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A story without structure is like a house without a framework.  It all falls apart.  Structure is what keeps your story from getting muddy and confusing your audience.  Regardless of what structure you use, you need some sort of skeleton to keep your story together.

I have read all kinds of books on plotting, structure, and story.  All have different methods for completing a story.  Some start with outlining while others start with character development, while others tell you to skip both.  Yet all have the same basic structure designs.

No matter how you write your story, it must have a beginning, a middle, and an end.  I should note that there are those that say that method is old and out dated; however, no matter what they wish to call their elements, all stories start somewhere, end somewhere, and along the way there is a middle of the tale.  Without them, you have nothing.

Your beginning does not have to start at "the beginning."  It could start in the middle of an event, say a bank robbery or an awards ceremony.  It could even start before the beginning, say at the birth of the protagonist, even though the story takes place at the end of his life.  No matter where your story starts, it has a beginning, and it tells us who, what, when, and where.  This is where we get to know the score.  It is the set up to the story.  In short, your have to start somewhere and  you have to make us care enough about this particular tale to keep up paying attention.  

Likewise, all stories must have an ending.  If your story simply ends with no conclusion, you will leave your audience dissatisfied.  Happy or sad, your audience needs to know it is indeed the end of the tale.  Consider this, if I said I got up and went to work, you can honestly say, "who cares!"  You would want to know, what happened at work, what problems did I encounter, and how did I solve those problems.  In your story, your ending is how your protagonist solved his problems or how he was overcome by his problems. An ending to a story is simply a conclusion, not  when you choose to stop telling your story.

That leaves us with the middle.  This is more than just the place between the beginning and the end.  This is the heart of the story, the meat and potatoes.  This is where many a story falls apart.  This is where we need a little planning.   I will say that, unlike the blueprints for a building, one can deviate from the outline, especially when you are inspired by an idea.   However, that would require you to have a plan in the first place, and  having a plan to deviate from will help your story from wandering away from you.  

Now it should be understood that that this is the most basic of story structure.  There are many other elements that go into a story.  There are those we all know, and there are those that we may not be aware of, but that is for another day.  For now, let us remember that the beginning is the set up, the end is the conclusion, and the middle is our story.

 
 
I read a book on screenwriting written by a gentleman who read screenplays submitted to the Raindance Film Festival.  The author stated in all the submissions he had read, he never found a bad premise, only poorly executed ones.  It is an interesting thought.  To me this means that any idea, no matter how far fetched it may be, has the possibility of becoming a great story.  

Consider the premise that a storyteller continued to tell stories to keep her husband from killing her the next day.  You would have 1001 Arabian Nights.  A very old story indeed.  From that we get Aladdin and the Magic Lamp, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, not to mention Sinbad the Sailor, each its own story with its own premise, and one executed well enough that it has endured for hundreds of years.  But what if we took the storyteller out of the Persian king's bedroom and placed it in the Soviet Union, in the Black Market, or on Mars?    While each would be a variation of the same premise, it would provide all sorts of unique story lines, each with its own potential for memorable stories.  

The premise, in and of itself, is merely a launching point for your story.  How you 
develop the premise makes all the difference.  Let us return to 1001 Arabian Nights.  If the storyteller had been an old hag instead of a beautiful young virgin, perhaps the king might not have been enchanted with her long enough to hear the first story.  Or what if she had been any enemy agent, or a man?  Each one of these ideas might have worked for today's audiences, but in Persia hundreds of years ago, those story lines would be unthinkable.  If we really wanted to get demented, one could make the beautiful young virgin a male enemy agent from Mars.

So it is down to execution.  That premise alone, while demented, is not enough for a good story, but it does lend itself to enchanting possibilities; however, it is up to the author to develop what would happen.  To a demented elf's way of thinking, take your premise and play a what if game.  Consider different variables.  Make it different, but also understand, premise isn't the story, it is the starting point.