Bewildering Stories

Thanks Bob!

by Jerry Wright

If you haven't read the latest "Reflections" by Robert Silverberg, rush out and by the April/May issue of Asimov's. Aside from some really good stories (Kage Baker, Allen Steele, etc.) Grandmaster Silverberg has hit the nail on the head (o' for the trite-ometer not to wrap a peg now...) in his column this month. Why do I say that? Because it reflects most heavily on a number of stories we get here at Bewildering Stories. Yes, I know. We want "bewildering" stories. But most of all, we want STORIES! And what does Mr. Silverberg have to say?

"There is such a thing as a universal plot skeleton, an essential narrative formula that all successful writers of... fiction use."

And this formula is one that I have told our would-be writers to use time and again: A character is faced with a problem that he needs to solve, and he either solves it, or fails to solve it, and is in some way changed.

Bob was much more detailed in his formulation, and gives many examples of how this has worked over the centuries. And so I say, "Would-be writers: Get this issue of Asimov's, type out the plot form, and use it, please?" Oh yeah, there have been interesting stories that broke this and other rules, but as with Picasso, become a competent artist first before experimenting too wildly.

At this moment, the Asimov's website is still dealing with last month's issue. We hope that when it is updated, it will contain a link to this fine article -- "Towards A Theory Of Story".

Please send us your ideas!

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