Sometimes Even Pilots Have to Wing It

After a woman falls out of the sky in front of his biplane, can a brash barnstormer help her prevent storm-wielding sky pirates from destroying his Nebraska hometown?

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The Most Important Thing You'll Ever Do: WRITE

5 Reasons Writing Is Important to the World

I find myself a little trepidatious as I sit down to write this post. I just downed my morning coffee, and the caffeine is kicking in and latching onto my nerves, making my fingers just a little trembly. Why am I nervous? Because this is such a big post. And such a deeply personal post. […]


4 Places to Find Your Best Story Conflict

Part 6 of The Do’s and Don’ts of Storytelling According to Marvel Got a flabby story on your hands? No problem, I got a flashy cure: story conflict. Now, before you roll your eyes and board the Yeah-Yeah-Heard-That-Before-Got-It-Thanks train, let me check your ticket. Because story conflict is neither so simplistic, nor so easy as many […]

4 Ways To Tell Your Story Has A Solid Concept

4 Ways to Verify Your Story Concept Is Strong Enough

All story concepts are not created equal. Even once you get past all the boring, been-there, and just plain blah ideas to the point where you’ve discovered something legitimately interesting and cool—that’s not enough either. Many a cool story concept has gone on to be a wasted story. But that’s not going to be you! Today, I’m going to […]

How To Craft Dimensional Dialogue

How to Write Subtext in Dialogue

Part 5 of The Do’s and Don’ts of Storytelling According to Marvel Good dialogue comes down to five factors: 1. Advances the plot. 2. Accurately represents characters. 3. Mimics realism. 4. Entertains. 5. Offers subtext. These are also pretty much the “levels” in which we master dialogue. When we start out learning to write, our main concern is that the dialogue […]

8 Reasons Every Author Should Learn Story Theory

7 Reasons You Need Story Theory

Just as in fiction itself, the writer’s life is marked by several major turning points–perhaps the most important of which is discovering story theory. In the story of your writing life, the Hook, of course, is that moment when you find yourself entranced with your first story idea. Maybe you were three years old–as I […]

How To Transform Your Story With A Moment of Truth

How to Transform Your Story With a Moment of Truth

Part 4 of The Do’s and Don’ts of Storytelling According to Marvel “How can I fix the saggy middle of my story?” I love it when writers ask me that. Why? Because the answer is so incredibly juicy–and it all revolves around the Moment of Truth that needs to occur at every story’s Midpoint. The Second […]

How To Choose An Immersive Setting

4 Ways to Choose the Right Story Setting

Most writers don’t have too much trouble when it comes to how to choose the right story setting for their books. Middle Earth; Maycomb, Alabama; Hogwarts—it’s often fairly obvious which locations will serve the needs of the story; then it’s just as matter of picking the best one. But what about the rest of the settings? […]

Most Common Writing Mistakes Header

Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 52: Stagnant Story Conflict

What’s so hard about story conflict? You throw your protagonist and your antagonist onto the page–insta-conflict! Right? Actually, not so fast. Turns out creating a fascinating story world in which dwells a fascinating hero and an evil villain is not enough, in itself, to create integral and interesting story conflict. I’ve read quite a few unfortunate […]

Use Minor Characters to Flesh Out Your Protaognist

Use Minor Characters to Flesh Out Your Protagonist

Part 3 of The Do’s and Don’ts of Storytelling According to Marvel Stop thinking of your minor characters as characters. If that flies in the face of everything you’ve ever heard about your story’s supporting cast, then just hang with me for a minute as I first ask you this all-important question: What is story? […]

5 Secrets of Complex Supporting Characters

5 Secrets of Complex Supporting Characters

Supporting characters don’t get nearly enough love. We come up with amazing protagonists who do amazing things and we labor to give them solid and complicated character arcs. But after all that work on the story’s forerunner, what happens to the supporting characters? Too often, they’re an afterthought. Of course, your protagonist needs a dad […]