Robert Treskillard, excellent fellow, has posted a quick review of Orson Scott Card’s helpful book How to Write Science-Fiction and Fantasy.
He gets at what I consider the most helpful part of the book (which goes well beyond just speculative fiction writing) and gives a concise presentation of it. I am quoting below from Robert’s site. Please read the whole post as well as Robert applies the info he learned to his own novels.
The same subject is discussed more in depth in OSC’s Characters and Viewpoint, which has been the most helpful book I’ve read about fiction writing. I also got to hear OSC talk about the subject at his Writing Class in nearby Plain Virginia. (Plain as opposed to the Best Virginia: West Virginia.) 🙂
The idea is that there are four types of stories, and OSC emphasizes how it’s important to figure out which kind you are writing.
“Milieu – The story is the world, and it begins with someone entering the world, and ends when they leave it.
Idea – The story begins with a question and ends when the question is answered.
Character – The story is about the transformation of a character. Begins with their inner issues, and ends with them resolved in some way.
Event – Some event happens at the beginning that throws everything off, and the story ends when ‘normalcy’ is restored.”