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Why do some stories work and others don’t? The answer is structure. Discover the universal underpinnings that guarantee powerful plot and character arcs. Now available!

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foreshadowing's number one job

Foreshadowing’s #1 Job in Your Story

This week’s video reveals a simple but often overlooked function of foreshadowing that all writers should be aware of. Video Transcript: As you may have noticed (or maybe not) I’ve taken almost a six-month break from the video posts. So starting this week, I’m pleased to say that I plan to return to my old […]

how to write a negative character arc the third act

How to Write a Negative Character Arc, Pt. 3: The Third Act

In a word, the negative character arc is about failure, and this becomes nowhere more clear than in the Third Act. If the positive change arc is about redeeming self and the flat arc is about saving others, then the negative character arc is about destroying self and probably others as well. The previous two […]

10 best tools to make writers successful

9 Best Tools to Make Writers More Successful, Organized, and Effective

Being a successful writer has a lot to do with natural talents. But that doesn’t mean you should stop developing your skills of creative expression. Writers can always become better by becoming more productive and organized. No need to waste valuable time searching for the best tools to make writers more successful. Following is a list […]

Keeping Secrets How to Make Your Book Un-Put-Down-able

Keeping Secrets: How to Make Your Book Un-Put-Down-able

Today, I’m guest posting over on Bestseller Labs, with the post “Keeping Secrets: How to Make Your Book Un-Put-Down-able.” Here’s an excerpt: Did you know there’s only one (count it: one!) reason readers read? This reason manifests in many different ways. One reader might call it a search for knowledge. Another might call it a desire […]

Is Your Story’s Voice Turning Away Readers?

Is Your Story’s Voice Turning Away Readers?

A story’s voice is always a hot topic among writers. What is it? How does it work? How can you get one? The difficulty in teaching about a story’s voice is that it’s one of those “you know it when you see it” things. Recently, I encountered a powerful example of voices that work—and voices […]

how to write a negative character arc the second act

How to Write a Negative Character Arc, Pt. 2: The Second Act

The Second Act in a negative character arc bears a lot of similarity to that in a positive change arc. In both types of arc, the character will be thrust out of his Normal World into a new and strange dilemma, where he will be forced to confront his Lie. He’ll be learning more about […]

why you should be mercilessly hacking apart your own stories

Why You Should Be Mercilessly Hacking Apart Your Favorite Stories

Today, I’m guest posting over on Storyfix, with the post “Why You Should Be Mercilessly Hacking Apart Your Favorite Stories.” Here’s an excerpt: You shouldn’t be reading this blog. No, seriously. As awesome as Larry’s blog is and as generous as he is for sharing his story sense with all of us, this is not […]

Jane Eyre: The Writer's Digest Annotated Classic by K.M. Weiland and Charlotte Brotne

Win a Custom E-Book Cover! + Blog Tour Dates for The Annotated Jane Eyre

To get word out about Jane Eyre: The Writer’s Digest Annotated Classic, I’ll be going on a blog tour, starting tomorrow, running right up until the release date on August 1st, 2014, and then picking up again the week after the launch and running through August 25th. But first I want to talk giveaways! Today, I’m featuring the last […]

maybe your bad guy is right

Maybe Your Bad Guy Is RIGHT!

How do you know if you’ve written a good bad guy? There are many possible qualifiers. He’s scary. He’s hatable. He’s a formidable obstacle to the protagonist’s goal. All of which are valid. But today what I’m talking about is the kind of bad guy who isn’t black and white. He’s solidly the hero of […]

how to write a negative character arc

How to Write a Negative Character Arc, Pt. 1: The First Act

Who in heaven’s name would want to write a negative character arc? Well, how about Shakespeare, Dostoevksy, Faulkner, and Flaubert? Just to name a few small-time wordsmiths you may have heard tell of. Everybody likes a happy ending, but, let’s face it, not all stories have happy endings. Negative change arcs won’t give readers the warm […]