Use Plot, Character, and Theme in Every Scene

How to Intertwine Plot, Character, and Theme in Every Scene

If plot, character, and theme are the foundational underpinnings of story itself, then they must be present in every scene as well, right? But that gets tricky. How can you make sure these elements are doing their job in every scene? And if they’re not present in every scene, does that necessarily mean the scene is […]

5 Steps to Writing Great Character Chemistry

5 Steps to Writing Great Character Chemistry

What is character chemistry? And how can you use it to make your story un-put-down-able? We most often hear about character chemistry in reference to actors—particularly those playing love interests to each other. Chemistry is hard to define but easy to spot. When two people show up on stage together and the result is a […]

4 Ways to Write a Better Anta

4 Ways to Write a Better Antagonist

Part 19 of The Do’s and Don’ts of Storytelling According to Marvel I have to believe Thanos would be a good writer. Why? Because he totally understands one of the most important principles of story theory: Pretty, isn’t it? Perfectly balanced. As all things should be. Too much to one side or the other… [and it […]

How the Truth Your Character Believes Defines Theme

How the Truth Your Character Believes Defines Your Theme

Part 18 of The Do’s and Don’ts of Storytelling According to Marvel The best stories always rest upon the foundation of believable character change and thematic depth. In turn, these two vital elements pivot upon the fulcrum of the Lie Your Character Believes and the Truth Your Character Believes. The Truth Your Character Believes is the […]

5 Logical Ways for Writers to Grow

How to Grow as a Writer: 5 Logical Steps

Writers are students. Sometimes this is the result of nothing more than sheer necessity: we seek answers for our questions because writing has turned out to be far more difficult than we anticipated. But often, writers are students first and writers second. If this is you, then concentrating on how to grow as a writer […]

5 Damaging Beliefs Writers Should Overcome

5 Lies Writers Believe That Are Holding Them Back

There are many lies writers believe that hold them back. When you think about it, this is kind of ironic. After all, aren’t stories stories lies that serve to tell the truth? I think the reason most writers get a perverse chuckle out of that last idea is because, as humans, we are hard-wired to […]

Most Common Mistakes (Purple Prose)

Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 64: POV Problems

POV. Writers can’t live without it. It influences every aspect of story, right down to word choice. But in all frankness, sometimes POV can be a little hard for us to live with as well. The vastness and the complexity of the topic makes it all too easy for authors to accidentally stumble into POV problems. […]

What Should Your Characters Talk About?

Dialogue is the best part of stories. (Yes, even better than Dickensian narratorial diatribes about crooked politics.) But it’s tough to write scintillating dialogue when you find yourself asking that fundamental question: “What should your characters talk about?” As writers, we’re familiar with the rant about “show, don’t tell.” We’re supposed to bring our stories […]

6 Ways to Set Up Your Story in the First Chapter

Your Ultimate First Chapter Checklist, Pt. 3: Introducing the Story

The reason the first chapter of a story is so complex is because it bears a triple load of responsibility. First, it must hook readers. Then it must offer a compelling and interesting scene of its own. And finally, it must set up the entire story to come. Today, let’s dive into our third and […]

5 Special Tips for Writing Your First Scene

Your Ultimate First Chapter Checklist, Pt. 2: Writing the Opening Scene

First chapters are complicated, which is why writers everywhere need a first chapter checklist. But even the checklists are complicated! Which is why I’ve broken down our exploration of excellent first chapters into three parts. Last week, we talked about what is, arguably, your first chapter’s most important job: hooking readers. But if you’re going […]