3 Character Arcs in the Karpman Drama Triangle

Drama presents something of an interesting conundrum. On the one hand, drama is the essence of story. Without it and its inherent dissonance, conflict, and stakes, there really isn’t much to a story. As writers and readers, we love drama. The irony is that, in real life, we recognize drama is often inherently destructive. “Drama queen,” “spare […]

7 Writing Lessons Learned in 2020

Happy New Year! For me, the turning of the year is certainly a time of examining habits, renewing intentions, and creating plans. But more than setting goals for the coming year, I prefer to think about the lessons I have learned from the year that has passed. In my experience, goals all but just happen […]

My Top Books of 2020

There’s a great quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson that I love: I cannot remember the books I’ve read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me. And so each year’s tally of books read make up my year as well. I’m always excited to look back and remember what […]

Merry Christmas, Wordplayers!

Dear Wordplayers, For me, Christmas is always a time of reflection upon the year that has passed, intention for the year that is to come, and especially recognition of the gifts for which I am most grateful. This year, perhaps more than any other year, I find myself with a deep gratitude for this community […]

Top 10 Writing Posts of 2020

What a year 2020 has been. As the beginning of a new decade, it felt momentous before it even started, but it still managed to shock the world. For me, as I’m sure for all of you, this past year has challenged me in ways I never expected. Since I work from home and live […]

10 Best Books to Buy a Writer For Christmas

All the lists of Christmas gifts for writers are good at highlighting unique and fun (and sometimes useless) gift ideas. But the truth is: writers are easy to buy for. Just wrap up a bunch of books. Almost any book will do, but if you’re wanting to get specific (for yourself or a writer on […]

What Is Dreamzoning? (7 Steps to Finding New Story Ideas)

Every writer knows a thing or two about daydreaming. But what about dreamzoning? What’s that—and how can it help you cultivate inspiration for your storytelling? Put simplistically, dreamzoning is basically just daydreaming on steroids. It’s purposeful, focused daydreaming. It’s intense. It’s fun. And if you’re a writer, it’s the mother lode of all story ideas. […]

Black Friday Deals for Writers

This Black Friday weekend, you can use the code OUTLINE to grab my Outlining Your Novel Workbook software at a special holiday discount of 25% its normal price of $40. (And scroll down for a list of deals from all around the online writing community.) Start Outlining Your Best Book Today As a reader of […]

7 Steps to Stop Overthinking Your Writing

It’s a question I’ve received countless times from readers over the years—and one I’ve found myself asking of late as well: How do you stop overthinking your writing? Writers are often known as thinkers. Indeed, we’re often proud of the connotation. We spend a lot of time in our heads. We love to read. We […]

5 Questions About Scene Sequences

In many ways story structure is a fractal pattern. The same patterns we find on the macro level of the entire story arc also repeat themselves, within an ever-tightening spiral, from scene structure all the way down to sentence structure. Somewhere in between story and scene, we find scene sequences. Within the story’s larger narrative, […]