What Does the Inciting Incident Actually Do?
The inciting incident is often misunderstood. Even seasoned writers sometimes make claims that there can be multiple inciting incidents or that it can occur before the story even begins. But I would argue that most of those claims are rooted in a misunderstanding of the role the inciting incident plays within a story.
The Essentials of Orienting Your Reader
In film, orientation is almost immediate. In prose, oreintation requires ink. Here are some guidelines for what orientation the reader needs.
Centrifugal Forces: How a Character Doesn’t Want What They Desire
Story is a vortex; a character circles around the climax, wanting and not wanting to get to the center of the vortex, where they will be transformed.
How and Why to Write Your Back-Cover Synopsis Early
The back-cover synopsis lays out the book’s premise and piques reader interest. Here’s how and why you should write one early and often.
How to Write While You’re Freaking Out
How can you write when the world seems to be falling apart? Some considerations for releasing the anxiety and allowing some healthy creative pursuit.
How a Scene List Can Help Your Revision
A scene list is a simple but powerful tool you can use to wrap your head around your whole story and begin to troubleshoot where it might need revision. Here’s how and why it helps.
How Your Attitude and Approach Toward Habits Can Revitalize Your Writing Practice
Habit formation is crucial for writers trying to improve their process. These tips might help you revolutionize your approach to your writing.
The Case for Messy Character Motivation
It’s acceptable—maybe even preferable—to be a little foggy about your characters’ motivations. Rather than put them through questionnaires and personality assessments, put them into situations which reveal true character.
The Character Mixing Board
Digging into Brandon Sanderson’s concept of three-pronged character development. How can you mix and match character attributes of competence, sympathy, and proactivity?
The Essence of Standout Characters
Protagonists need reader identification and allegiance, but that alone doesn’t make them standout characters. A great character needs to evoke a strong emotion within readers. And there are three main qualities that allow such effect.
Captivating Protagonists: The Essentials
The defining trait of a protagonist is that the reader identifies with them, and there are two essentials that facilitate that identification.
The Two Imperatives for Compelling Dialogue
Weak dialogue portrays exchanges of information that leave the energy of the scene flat. Compelling dialogue does these two things.
Turning Points Propel Your Story
Turning points are why scenes exist. So it’s essential to understand how and why they work within your story to propel both plot and character.
Freytag’s Pyramid Doesn’t Deserve the Hate
Freytag’s Pyramid provides the most ubiquitous plot diagram for story structure, but is hated by many. Here’s why the pyramid doesn’t deserve the hate.
The Case for Pantsing
Writing “by the seat of your pants,” aka “discovery writing” works better for some writers than outlining does. Read about the rationale for pantsing here.
Irony is Central to Storytelling
Irony is more important to storytelling than you might think. It helps create more poignant story events and ushers in more meaningful character transformation.
Exposition in Dialogue
You can deliver exposition via dialogue, but you have to finesse it a little. Here we discuss how you can disguise exposition so it doesn’t feel contrived.
Earning Story Events
Earning story events means paying attention to three types of context (deep, situational, and immediate) as well as giving the character time to arrive at a response.
Your Writing Needs to Be Better Than Game of Thrones
The writing for the TV series has been in a steep downhill descent for a while, and the 3rd episode of Season 8, which needed to pay off a years-long plot arc, utterly failed to create a cohesive narrative.
Theme Is Not Optional
Some people are wary of crafting or discussing theme, but theme exists in all (good) stories. Here, we examine what theme is, how a story employs it, the effect on readers, and how writers can be intentional about theme.
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