5 Ways to Use Your Character’s Shadows to Power Your Story

Complex characters mirror real-life humans in their contradictions of inner light and dark. As writers, it is our job to create these contrasts in ways that become cohesive and thematically meaningful. One of the simplest—and most effective—ways to do this is to explore shadow theory. In last week’s post, we talked about the concept of […]

How to Create Insanely Complex Characters Using “Shadow Theory”

Complex characters are the beating heart of good fiction. The simplest and most effective ways to engineer this complexity is to create contrast, and one of the most intuitive tools a writer can use for identifying which contrasting elements are organic to any given character or story situation is… shadow theory. The “shadow” is a […]

Why There’s No Such Thing as “Just a Story”

Every so often, I will hear someone say, “It’s just a story.” Most often, I hear this said in situations in which a story is being critiqued. In response to comments that a story failed to reach its potential because it lacked theme or plot structure or strong characterization, a person might insist, “Well, it’s […]

Tips on Hiring and Working with a Book Cover Designer (And New Cover Reveal for Dreamlander!)

As writers, we know an eye-catching book cover is vital for captivating potential readers. Recently, I got to work with the talented team at Ebook Launch to update the cover of my portal fantasy Dreamlander. Today, I’m excited to share my experience and insights to help you find and collaborate with the right book cover […]

The Backstory Drip (Backstory Techniques, Pt. 3 of 3)

What are the best backstory techniques you can use in your story? Over the past two weeks, we’ve been discussing some of the options writers have for sharing backstory in their stories. So far, we’ve talked about four specialized techniques, analyzing their respective advantages, disadvantages and best-use practices: Flashbacks Prologues Backstory-as-Story Alternating Timelines All four […]

Backstory-as-Story vs. Alternating Timelines (Backstory Techniques, Pt. 2 of 3)

Backstory techniques are crucial to the success of any type of story. Whether you share all of your characters’ pertinent backstories or none, backstory still informs the entire story. What, when, and how to share backstory are important decisions for any writer. Making the right choices will determine not just whether or not your backstory works, but possibly […]

Prologues vs. Flashbacks (Backstory Techniques, Pt. 1 of 3)

If you want to rev up a group of passionate writers, just bring up the topic of backstory. As much as we love our stories, we often love our backstories even more. If plot offers a what and a how, backstory is often the why. It can provide both context and subtext, bringing depth, understanding, and […]

Have You Chosen the Right POV Character for Your Story?

Note: After all the excitement of launching my new book Writing Archetypal Character Arcs last month, I’m giving myself a little break this week from the usual post and podcast. Instead, I am sharing a fast tip that I hope you will enjoy and find useful! I will be back next week with a brand new […]

Writing Archetypal Character Arcs Launch Day Winner Announced!

First, I want to take a moment to thank you all for your support and enthusiasm for my new book Writing Archetypal Character Arcs. Thank you for making the launch a success! It was one of the best pre-launches and launches I’ve ever had, and I am so grateful to all of you for making […]

Launch Day for Writing Archetypal Character Arcs (Win a Freewrite!)

Welcome to Launch Day! Today, at long last, I get to officially share my newest book on the craft of writing and storytelling. For me personally, Writing Archetypal Character Arcs: The Hero’s Journey and Beyond has been quite literally an archetypal journey. I am so excited to finally and officially share it with all of […]