Learn How Powerful Character Arcs Create Powerful Stories


Have you written a story with an exciting concept and interesting characters—but it isn’t grabbing the attention of readers or agents? It’s time to look deeper into the story beats that create realistic and compelling character arcs.

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How to Write (and Not Write) Expository Dialogue

Dialogue is one of the most versatile of all narrative fiction techniques. It allows us to characterize, to create both context and subtext, to entertain via humor, and to share some of the best and punchiest prose rhythms in the entire book. Because it is the only narrative technique that is a “true” form of showing, […]

3 Ways to Make Your Writing More Visual

Written fiction is comparatively unique among art forms. Why? Because it isn’t visual. Unlike theater, dance, painting, sculpture, and photography, writing offers no inherent visual images. And yet, as any reader can tell you, reading a good story is a tremendously visual experience. This means you, as the writer, bear an important responsibility to make […]

Move the Plot2

What Does It Mean to Move the Plot?

“Move the plot, move the plot—everything in your story must move your plot!!!” So rail all writing professors. Meanwhile, the writers themselves just want to bang their heads against their keyboards in desperate frustration. “Okay, yes, fine, great—I want to move the plot. But what does that even meeeeaaannnn?!?!?!?!” (Enough interrobangs, for you?) (No?) (Okay, sorry: […]

3 Ways to Choose the Right Protagonist

3 Ways to Choose the Right Protagonist

Ever had a minor character steal the show and run away with your story? This scenario has its good points and its bad points (usually, it means a great minor character and a problematic plot), and it always leads writers right back to the all-important question of how to choose the right protagonist from the get-go. […]

How to Benefit From the Biggest Reason for Storytelling

How to Benefit From the Biggest Reason for Storytelling

I have a theory. My theory is that a person’s ability to engage with art is directly proportional to that person’s willingness to explore the inner depth of their own lives. Consider two different people who walk out of a movie theater together (or we could switch out the setting for an art gallery, a […]

How to Write Stories Readers Will Actually Remember

How to Write Stories Your Readers Will Remember

Think back about the books you read and the movies you watched in the last year (heck, think about just the ones you experienced in the last month). Which do you still remember vividly? Which are already foggy in your memory? Now: which type of story do you want to write? No-brainer, of course. You want to […]

2 Ways To Make Sure You've Chosen the Right Scene

2 Ways to Choose the Right Scene

Today, I’m guest posting over on Jerry Jenkins’s site, with the post “Does This Scene Deserve a Place in Your Story? 2 Ways to Find Out.” Here’s an excerpt: “Cut this scene. It doesn’t move the plot.” That is my most frequent comment on manuscripts I edit for others. It causes most writers to groan. […]

Most Common Writing Mistakes (Too Much Description)

Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 58: Too Much Description

Sooner or later, most writers will get their hands slapped over description, whether it’s too much description or too little. The bad news is that this is a big deal in narrative fiction. Get the balance of your description wrong, and it could throw off your entire story. The good news is that once you understand how […]

An Easy Way To Notch Up Your Scene Conflict

An Easy Way to Notch Up Your Scene Conflict

Scene conflict is what keeps your story running, chapter after chapter, page after page. Conflict is the heart of each scene, and each of those scenes is one of the dozens of tiny engines keeping your plot moving forward—and your readers glued to the page. It’s helpful to think of scene conflict as not so much […]

The 7 Stages of Being a Writer (How Many Have You Experienced?)

If life is a journey and writing is a lifestyle, then we know writing itself is not a destination but a discovery. Some of the stages of being a writer are momentous, life-changing, and unforgettable. (Outlines, story structure, and character arcs were like that for me.) Other discoveries blur past, lost in the hustle and […]