Category: blog

The Story Law

A story is a tale told of an instance similar to life unto a certain end. It often contains the Plot, which is its core matter.

By this Law, we mean that any story told is drawn from life’s experiences common to man or which man is familiar with and this is told for a reason or purpose. This purpose may be to encourage, to warn, to say something about something, to change a way of thinking about certain subject matter, &c. Often times, some modifications are allowed under fiction situations to buttress the point properly.

The idea behind this piece is not to labor my audience with too much explanations. It is only to introduce the Story Law. That is a rule that defines what the story is and guides its making. It provides clue to how a story may be derived and hence followed through.

I hope this has helped!

 

 

 

 

 

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THE PARAGRAPH

From previous courses as published in this blog site, you may have been familiar with the word Plotmatics. You will do well to go through the courses just in case you don’t already know what it is all about. It is the writing concept explored in this blog. With it, business as usual is no longer the case where writing was initially viewed as an art and trial-and-error approach became the norm. As an art, good writing method became a matter of opinion and practice varying from author to author without a common accepted ground on what should generally be the case. Be that as it may, in this site writing is viewed as a science and that is what Plotmatics is all about. It means a scientific approach to writing. However, it is not the discussion here, but it is connected to it.

 

What is the paragraph? It will be recalled that the theme book has been defined as a book which is made up of chapters and pages built around a central theme. Of course, the theme of a book is the central idea underlying the discussions in a book. Every single thing said in the book fits into the framework of the theme, but writing in each page progresses by paragraphs. A page of a book is one which contains discussions organized in paragraphs. It begins with a paragraph, then another one and yet another till the entire page is filled out and another one is required. Two things are involved when doing a piece of writing: word count and the sense in what is being discussed. This means have the word count, but yet make sense. This is the reason pages were mentioned in the definition of the theme book.

 

The Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines the paragraph as a part of a piece of writing that usually deals with one subject, that begins on a new line, and that is made up of one or more sentences. Further, it says that it is a subdivision of a written composition that consists of one or more sentences, deals with one point or gives the words of one speaker, and begins on a new usually indented line. By these definitions, it means that writing is broken down into strips called paragraphs, which by convention deal with one item at a time in the discussion. Each strip with its fresh subject of discussion often begins on a new line to distinguish it from the others. It is required therefore that the author should stick to one point at a time in a paragraph. Hence, the paragraph is a subdivision of a body of writing with discussion built around a single point or idea at a time. The points are discussed in paragraphs one at a time. This implies that the discussion should be narrowed to one thing and it should not be hurried. This is how to built word count and ensure that the discussion is beaten out adequately. Always remember, though, that writing progresses by paragraphs. Getting it right at this stage means getting it right at every other stage and, hence, through out the book.  

 

But just how does the paragraph fit into the writing plan? The paragraph in a page should fit into the writing plan. It should not deviate from the general discussion meant to be the object of a particular chapter. It should flow within the framework of the chapter under review. Basically, how this works is by setting an objective or agenda for a given chapter and revolving discussion around it. Of course, to every agenda for discussion, there are points to be discussed and these are handled in paragraphs one item at a time till the end of the chapter. The essence of this discussion is to show you how not to write a chapter without a plan. It is often good to have a plan and to stick with it.

 

Many take off with their writing without any structure in place. They just have in mind that they have chosen to write and they get on with it somehow, only to be left somewhere in the middle frothing their minds back and forth for what to put down next. To avoid this, have a structure or plan by which to proceed with your work. This is handled in the next paragraph.

 

Plotmatics already has been defined in the opening paragraph as a way to remind you what it is all about or to show to you what is intended by that concept. Here, it is brought to bear to help you get around the challenge of writing the paragraph and hence an entire chapter of a book. There are three things to be explored in this discussion: agenda, discussion items and methodology. I shall naked the secret of writing this piece of essay in the course of this discussion, but before then, the agenda of a chapter is the purpose for writing that chapter. You simply ask yourself, “What is the purpose for this chapter? What do I seek to do by writing this chapter?”. After the question, it would be wise to put it down. It could be a statement, a phrase or even a word as the case may be, provided it says what you mean to do or it gives you the desired direction. To write this essay the agenda was to show how to write the paragraph and have word count while making sense. Perhaps, the next item in our list should be discussed in another paragraph to make for clear understanding and to not over-labor the present paragraph with a lot of things to discuss.

 

Discussion items are a layout of things you wish to handle in separate paragraphs, having set out your agenda. It works as much as plotting points on a graph sheet to guide you through the writing process. Here, is how the discussion points of this essay were done.

 

Agenda – to show how to write the paragraph and have word count while making sense

 

DI1 – what is the paragraph?

 

DI2 – how does it fit into the writing plan?

 

DI3 – what are some of the problems of producing a paragraph in writing?

 

DI4 –the Plotmatics of writing the paragraph: agenda of the chapter, step-by-step approach, items of discussion,

 

DI5 – examples

 

DI6 – conclusion

 

For convenience, each item has been denoted with alphabets and numbers. DI means Discussion Item while the numbers are serial numbers assigned to each denoting a number of a paragraph. DI1 for example denotes discussion item one for paragraph 1, and so on in that order.

 

Next is methodology. This is how you intend to approach your writing, and it is a very important tool. Without it, writing runs wild and cannot be controlled. The author needs to tell himself that this is just how he wishes to proceed with his writing and this is called methodology – how one wishes to make one’s case. It has been mentioned that a single item of discussion should be handled in a paragraph one at a time and this should not be hurried. In Plotmatics, the recommended method of delivery of the lines in a paragraph is the step-by-step approach. This means, just as its name implies, to do your writing one step at a time. It is often good to start from the general idea to the specific. Start from the general case of the discussion and break it down gradually in steps till you are done with the paragraph and you have made your point. Examples are the paragraphs of this essay so far. They take off from the general case and get broken down to the barest minimum until the paragraph is finished, and the point is properly made. It will benefit you to go by topic sentences for each paragraph. This is a sentence often used to chart the course of a discussion in a paragraph. For example, sales were low this year… Nigeria is a nascent democracy… Every writing is done in paragraphs… and so on. All of these have one thing in common – each one bellies details within oneself. This is not the discussion here though, but discussion develops afterwards from the topic sentences.

 

Writing, as has been shown, should be done as deliberate enough for good yield in the desired direction, until then the author may have to continue grappling with his work as one who depends on trial-and-error.  

 

 

 

 

 

WRITING WITH A PURPOSE

A lot of books start but never conclude. They stop half way pending when the author hopes to return to them again. This never happens and hence so many works have been left in the middle of nowhere and worst still the writer never get to become an author. This can be the case also with authors hoping to conclude a new book. They can start a fresh title and not lead it to completion. For all we know, a concluded work is one that we can call a written work.

Worst than the first is a case where the writer feels there is a book inside of him to be written, but he cannot organize his thoughts at one thing narrow enough for him to take off on the project. He goes about telling people his intentions to write such and such a book and sometimes brags that it would be the best ever written on the subject matter. Once, I met a man who had loose sheets of points he was putting down for a new project. I approached him and asked what they were meant for. He told me that they were for a new project he intended to write and he believed it would be the best ever written on the subject matter. I requested to look at the sheets. When I did so, I did not find the incentive to stay on looking at them. They were disorganized. With them, I did not see how they led me to anything. The points or would-be chapters were randomly chosen in a manner not offering the promise that the man knew what he wanted with the book, and I left wondering “what is the point of this work?”. Unless he gets it right later, I bet you that book may never be written or may be written badly. If the latter is the case, we will have a shoddy project coming to the book stands, but I doubt what publisher might want to take it on. This is the case with many projects facing rejection at the hands of the publishers. Every publisher wants income from projects it takes on. Accepted, publishers have their own part. They sometimes don’t look at genuine works critically once the author is a new entrant, but trust me many works may not be worth the stress, time and money.

Yet on the book stands, actually published by a publisher, we have books that don’t meet criteria. They tell us nothing such as we need to know. They do not lead us on to the point of the writing. Such books may have been laced with luck to have been taken on by a publisher. There are so many of them around and one would wonder how such projects got by in the first place. They are simply lacking in organization, leading to nowhere and lacking the point of the entire exercise. It is true that conventionally no known rigid rule has been accepted as the formula for writing a book, though on this blog Plotmatics is the answer, where it is the art of writing a book by the use of scientific principles borne from years of scrutiny of existing evidence. Books have had to be written by trial and error ranging from author to author for what is best practice. What works for A may or may not work for B. Consequently, books on writing are mainly one type of advice or another written by different authors who by no means agree on one fixed principle.

For any author who would set out on a project, purpose is key item that should be settled out first. The author ought to ask himself the question, “Why am I writing this book? What is the reason for this work?” The problem with the man I mentioned previously is that when I looked through the sheets I did not see his purpose for wanting to write the book he was about writing. The only item about his work was excitement. He was excited about certain discoveries he had made on the subject matter but failed to organize his plan with a meaningful purpose that will drive and guide his writing. The purpose of the author is his guide while putting pen to paper. It helps keep his thoughts on the track from the beginning to the end of the work.

Purpose is that set agenda in the mind of the author for writing his book. It is his set objective of what he would have achieved in the end by writing the work. It is the role the book is meant to play for its audience. Example is someone writing a work on practical biology because there are few or none of such texts available on the subject matter to help in the course of study. Another book on practical biology may have the view to further simplify the subject matter easy enough for school children to readily understand. For novels, the author may have in mind to show by narrative certain lesson he wishes his audience to learn and apply in real life situations. He may wish to educate his audience on a new process. It can be anything. All that matters is that the author should allow certain concern drive his work. This will help guide the making of his book and place his discussion on the right track in consonance with his set objective.

Before an author puts pen to paper, he should ask himself, “What is the concern of this work?”. This is much like the sight at the tip of the barrel of a gun used to aim at a target and hence guide its shooting. This is somewhat writing with vision. It is seen from afar before building the book around it. It is a powerful tool of the author to help align his writing onto a desired end. It helps him to have control of his work from the outset to the very end.

The following are some of the concerns people may have for writing their books:

  1. Chinua Achebe, the author of Things Fall Apart, wrote the narrative to show that the black man, the Ibos in this case, had a culture before the coming of the Europeans.
  2. Our text, Lonely Weekends, was written to express, through the narrative, the author’s style of English language and to show improvement in African literature.
  3. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie wrote to express, through the narrative, the failure of the African State.
  4. The narrative Mysterious Affair; If the Pines Could Talk was written to show that African literature can also be detective contrary to the case where it is commonly epic.

This list is by no means exhaustive, but it gives an idea into our meaning. Any book written should have an end it wants to meet and this often is its selling point.

 

Maximus Clement

Author Lonely Weekends