The Secrets of Story Structure, Pt. 4: The First Plot Point

The Secrets of Story Structure, Pt. 4: The First Plot Point   Stories are a series of scenes. Some of those scenes are expected, some of them are even purposefully repetitious for the sake of emphasis. But some scenes change everything. These game changers are the plot points. They introduce significant elements and events that … More The Secrets of Story Structure, Pt. 4: The First Plot Point

The Secrets of Story Structure, Pt. 2: The Hook

The Secrets of Story Structure, Pt. 2: The Hook Readers are like fish. Smart fish. Fish who know authors are out to get them, reel them in, and capture them for the rest of their seagoing lives. But, like any self-respecting fish, readers aren’t caught easily. They aren’t about to surrender themselves to the lure of your story unless … More The Secrets of Story Structure, Pt. 2: The Hook

The Secrets of Story Structure, Pt. 1: Why Should Authors Care?

  The Secrets of Story Structure   If there’s just one thing that matters to your success as a writer, it’s story structure. Story structure is what allows authors to create stories that work every single time. Story structure is what allows you to quickly diagnose and remedy plot problems. The fear that story structure … More The Secrets of Story Structure, Pt. 1: Why Should Authors Care?

Structuring Your Story’s Scenes, Pt. 12: Frequently Asked Questions

Structuring Your Story’s Scenes, Pt. 12: Frequently Asked Questions Once authors grasp Scene* structure, the whole approach to storytelling becomes clearer and more refined. At first blush, it can be a subject that takes a while to fully grasp and, as a result, can spawn all kinds of questions. But all you clever Wordplayers seem to have caught … More Structuring Your Story’s Scenes, Pt. 12: Frequently Asked Questions

Structuring Your Story’s Scenes, Pt. 8: Options for Reactions in a Sequel

Structuring Your Story’s Scenes, Pt. 8: Options for Reactions in a Sequel   At the heart of every sequel* is the narrating character’s reaction to the preceding scene’s disaster. This is where the author gets the opportunity to dig around inside his character’s emotional and mental processes and find out what he’s really made of. The scene is about … More Structuring Your Story’s Scenes, Pt. 8: Options for Reactions in a Sequel

Structuring Your Story’s Scenes, Pt. 3: Options for Goals in a Scene

Structuring Your Story’s Scenes, Pt. 3: Options for Goals in a Scene The story as a whole and every scene* within it begins with a goal. Your character wants something—something he will have difficulty accomplishing. What he wants frames the plot on both the macro and micro levels. What he wants defines him as a person, … More Structuring Your Story’s Scenes, Pt. 3: Options for Goals in a Scene

Structuring Your Story’s Scenes, Pt. 2: The Three Building Blocks of the Scene

Structuring Your Story’s Scenes, Pt. 2: The Three Building Blocks of the SceneilLike story itself, each Scene* follows a specific structure. At its heart, the arc of the Scene is the same as that of the larger story structure exhibited over the course of the book: 1. Beginning=Hook 2. Middle=Development 3. End=Climax When we look at the … More Structuring Your Story’s Scenes, Pt. 2: The Three Building Blocks of the Scene

Structuring Your Story’s Scenes, Pt. 1: Mastering the Two Different Types of Scene

Structuring Your Story’s Scenes, Pt. 1: Mastering the Two Different Types of Scene Okay, so it’s not really a trick. It’s a legitimate question with a legitimate, if somewhat surprising, answer. And that answer is: the scene. Yep, you heard right. The scene—that most integral, most obvious, most universal part of any story—is also the most overlooked and … More Structuring Your Story’s Scenes, Pt. 1: Mastering the Two Different Types of Scene

How to Evoke Reader Emotions With “Surprisingness”

How to Evoke Reader Emotions With “Surprisingness”   Have you ever read a book for a second, third, even tenth time—just to experience the emotion the story evokes? Clearly the elements of the story aren’t a surprise. You know exactly what to expect. If so, you were benefiting from an author who knew how to … More How to Evoke Reader Emotions With “Surprisingness”

5 Questions for Choosing a Protagonist Who Represents Your Story’s Theme

5 Questions for Choosing a Protagonist Who Represents Your Story’s Theme   Choosing a protagonist is often more of an event than a process. Writers sometimes feel more like the protagonist chooses them than the other way around. While most of us heed our first instinct to simply chase after this character to see where … More 5 Questions for Choosing a Protagonist Who Represents Your Story’s Theme