Announcing the Story Structure Database!


Want to know more about the structure of your favorite books and movies? Search the database to find exactly what you're looking for.

Check It Out!

Learn How to Write a Likable Protagonist at the Start of His Character Arc

4 Ways to Write a Likable Protagonist at the Start of His Character Arc

Do you know what I struggle with more anything when it comes to character arcs? Creating a likable protagonist right from the get-go. And I’m not alone. In their desire to create deep, expansive changes within their characters, many writers get hung up at the beginning of their characters’ arcs. Why? Because if characters are starting from […]

Need a Writing Buddy? Find One Right Here!

Need a Writing Buddy? Find One Right Here!

Some of the questions I am asked most frequently are, “How can I find a writing buddy? Where did you find your own critique partners? Help! I need beta readers!” And, yes, as you may have noticed, that last isn’t a question so much as a desperate plea for help. I noticed too! Need a Writing […]

JURASSIC PARK [US 1993] LAURA DERN, BOB PECK JURASSIC PARK Date: 1993. Photo By: UNIVERSAL/AMBLIN/Ronald Grant Archive/Mary Evans/Everett Collection (10553822)

The Key to Writing Good Action Scenes (Hint: It’s Not Just the Action)

This week’s video shows you how you can mimic Jurassic Park in streamlining your narrative and keeping your action scenes tight. Video Transcript: Two admissions to start off with today. First, I admit the title is slightly misleading. The key to writing good action scenes isn’t action? What’s up with that? Because if action is the […]

Who Should You Be Writing For? Yourself or Your Readers?

Whom Should You Be Writing For? Yourself or Your Readers?

Whom should you be writing for? It’s a question all writers have to face sooner or later. Usually, we tend to think of the answer in terms of audiences: young adults, women 18-55, general adults, or super geeks of the sort to have read every back issue comic from the Silver Age. My simplest answer to this question […]

5 Writing Lessons I Learned Ghostwriting for New York Times Bestsellers

5 Writing Lessons I Learned Ghostwriting for New York Times Bestsellers

I’m a bestselling author you’ve never heard of, an invisible man. While ghostwriting, I’ve collaborated with New York Times bestsellers, concepting and writing stories that have reached audiences worldwide and topped sales charts. It’s been a unique gig, and some of my friends don’t understand why anyone would work in the shadows. But in a culture where […]

Amping Your Story Stakes: Why Even Positive Events Should Have Consequences

Amping Your Story Stakes: Why Even Positive Events Should Have Consequences

This week’s video offers another example from Jurassic Park for an easy way to instantly inject more continuity and tension in your story stakes. Video Transcript: Good fiction is about consequences. Something happens which causes something else to happen, which keeps the cause-and-effect ball rolling. If the cause has no effect, then the story peters […]

The Hardest Part of Writing Good Character Arcs —and How You Can Make It Look Easy!

The Hardest Part of Writing Good Character Arcs—and How You Can Make It Look Easy!

Character arcs are easy, right? Somewhere in between the beginning and the middle of the book, the character changes. What could be simpler? And yet, when we get right down to the nitty-gritties, character arcs are also pretty darn hard. Why? Because humans never change in simplistic, easy, on-and-off-like-a-light-switch ways. We change slowly, sometimes invisibly, […]

9 Ways to Use Point of View to Strengthen Your Story’s Characters

9 Ways to Use Point of View to Strengthen Your Story’s Characters

One of the author’s primary tools to create great characters is point of view (POV). The character or characters through whom the reader experiences your narrative will become the people they know best, and, if those characters are compelling, the friends they carry with them after the story is done. As writers, we must consider […]

What Jurassic Park Can Teach You About Compounding Conflict in Your Story

What Jurassic Park Can Teach You About Compounding Conflict in Your Story

Think your story is falling a little flat? The problem might be that your conflict is too one-sided. The most interesting stories are always those that result from the complex interweaving of various threads of compounding conflict. In his book The Anatomy of Story, John Truby talks about “four-corner opposition”: A simplistic opposition between characters […]

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Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 42: When Your Story Stakes Aren’t High Enough

There are two different ways you can blow your story stakes–and both of them have the ability to ruin your book. Before we dig into the pitfalls, let’s take a moment to consider just what story stakes are. What Are Story Stakes? Your character’s stake in your story is his personal investment in the conflict. It’s whatever he […]