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Writing With Quiet Hands by Paula Munier

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Chapter Eight

The Engine of Narrative Thrust

“That’s the biggest difference between the BookWorld and the RealWorld … when things happen after a randomly pointless event, all that follows is simply unintended consequences, not a coherent narrative thrust that propels the story forward.” —Jasper Fforde

As a reader, a writer, and an agent, I read thousands of stories a year—or at least the opening pages of thousands of stories. And, all other things being equal, the reason I most often stop reading is a lack of narrative thrust.

Narrative thrust is the taut building of story, beat by beat, scene by scene, chapter by chapter, using the complexities of plot and character to propel the story forward in a dramatic arc that peaks at the climax. You ...

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