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. 3: The First Act

The Secrets of Story Structure, Pt. 3: The First Act   Once you’ve hooked the reader, your next task is to put your early chapters to work introducing your characters, settings, and stakes. The first 20-25% of the book comprises your setup. At first glance, this can seem like a tremendous chunk of story to devote to introductions, … More The Secrets of Story Structure, Pt. 3: The First Act

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

Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 63: Purple Prose

Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 63: Purple Prose Words, glorious words! Fellow logophiles, were we not initially drawn to writing because of our sesquipedal amours? We love words. We love big words, arcane words, chewy words, beautiful words. We love combinations of words that are bold, poetic, eloquent, and sometimes even showy. So it’s little … More Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 63: Purple Prose

Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 41: Inferring Non-POV Characters’ Thoughts

Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 41: Inferring Non-POV Characters’ Thoughts These, days, writers have to be clever. There are so many guidelines we need to observe in order to make our plots, characters, and narratives as vibrant and powerful as possible. As this series on most common writing mistakes attests, there are so many things … More Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 41: Inferring Non-POV Characters’ Thoughts

Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 33: Telling Important Scenes, Instead of Showing

Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 33: Telling Important Scenes, Instead of Showing “Show, don’t tell” is arguably one of the most important principles of writing fiction. It’s the foundation of all of dramatic storytelling. “Telling” may get the bones of a scene across. But “showing” is what brings it to life. So it should come … More Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 33: Telling Important Scenes, Instead of Showing

Most Common Writing Mistakes: The Do’s and Don’ts of Dialect

Most Common Writing Mistakes: The Do’s and Don’ts of Dialect Who doesn’t love a good accent? British, Indian, French, Spanish, Irish, Australian, South African, and Japanese actors, among many others, all bring added spice to their roles on the American big screen. And I suspect the same holds true in reverse (when I visited Australia several years … More Most Common Writing Mistakes: The Do’s and Don’ts of Dialect

Most Common Writing Mistakes: Are You Confusing Readers With Poor Cause and Effect?

Most Common Writing Mistakes: Are You Confusing Readers With Poor Cause and Effect? As the creators of our story worlds, authors are privileged with a certain amount of inside information. We almost always know what’s going to happen to the characters before an event actually occurs. The readers and the main character might not have … More Most Common Writing Mistakes: Are You Confusing Readers With Poor Cause and Effect?

The Do’s and Don’ts of Storytelling According to Marvel Part 15: How to Ace the First Act in Your Sequel

How to Ace the First Act in Your Sequel Part 15 of The Do’s and Don’ts of Storytelling According to Marvel Sequels are special. On the one hand, they still must follow all the same basic rules of good storytelling. But on the other hand, they both simplify and complicate various aspects of that approach. While … More The Do’s and Don’ts of Storytelling According to Marvel Part 15: How to Ace the First Act in Your Sequel

Part 9 of The Do’s and Don’ts of Storytelling According to Marvel

Part 9 of The Do’s and Don’ts of Storytelling According to Marvel The longer I study stories, the more convinced I am that the one single thing that sets apart the great stories from the meh ones is theme. What this means, of course, is that figuring out how to write powerful themes is possibly the most … More Part 9 of The Do’s and Don’ts of Storytelling According to Marvel