If You Don’t Fix This Mistake in Your Story's Climax, You’ll Hate Yourself Later

If You Don’t Fix This Mistake in Your Story’s Climax, You’ll Hate Yourself Later

The Climax has got to be the best part of your story, right? It’s the maraschino cherry on top of the sundae (that is, of course, if you’re the kind who saves the cherry to eat last). Anyway—the point is you want your story’s Climax to be gripping. You want it to be suspenseful. You […]

Hunchback of Notre Dame Book Cover by Victor Hugo

Don’t Let This Sloppy Technique Kill the Tension in Your Story’s Climax

This week’s video points out one of the most egregious mistakes you can make in your story’s climax and how to make sure readers never look away from your exciting finale. Video Transcript: Imagine this: you’ve created an amazing story, full of amazing characters, who are clashing in an epic conflict. Your story’s climax has […]

The Only Sure Way to Write an Emotionally Resonant Climax

What makes for an emotionally resonant climax? In other words, what makes for a good climax? Is it danger? Explosions? A face-off between the protagonist and the antagonist? Near-death experiences? Eh, all good guesses. But these things are like the seasoning on top a good climax, rather than the meat itself. And seasonings, by themselves, […]

Are the Loose Ends in Your Story Too Loose?

Are loose ends in your story a good thing or a bad thing? The very name seems to indicate they’re a bad thing. After all, what else do we do with loose ends but tie them up? But the problem with tying up all our loose ends too tightly is that we often end up […]

Have You Invited Enough Characters to Your Story’s Climax?

This week’s video talks about which characters need to be present in your story’s climax and how to get them there. Video Transcript: Your book’s climax is its big party, and, believe me, it doesn’t pay to be too stingy with the invites. You’re going to want to see as many of your important characters as […]

The Characteristic Moment Belongs at the End of Your Book Too

This week’s video talks about the little-discussed characteristic moment at the end of your story, which bookends the one at the beginning. Video Transcript: I know you’re totally all over the idea that the beginning of your book needs to feature your protagonist in a characteristic moment. The idea, of course, behind this is that […]

5 Ways to Write a Killer Plot Twist

I love plot twists. Mistaken identities, sneaky plans, sleight of hand—it’s all grand. Nothing makes me happier than a story that pulls the rug out from under me and shows me that my perception of the story is nowhere near as cool as the reality. On the flipside, nothing annoys me more than a story […]

The Biggest Problem With Trick Endings

Most readers love trick endings. How long have people been talking about The Sting or The Sixth Sense? And what author among us wouldn’t like to replicate that kind of excitement and memorability? But there is a big problem with trick endings. When they work, they’re amazing. When they don’t work, they make readers grumpy and […]

10 Stories With (Brilliant) Loose Ends

The ending of your story is even more important than its beginning. If the beginning flops, readers will set the book aside and never think about it again. But if the ending fails, your book (and you) will live in infamy in the deep, dark dungeon of reader disdain. No pressure, right? Creating the perfect […]

Why Story Beginnings and Endings Must Be Linked

The ending of your story is a loooong way away from the beginning. Tens of thousands (or even hundreds of thousands) of words is an extraordinary journey. Contemplating the ending from the vantage point of the beginning is like looking up at the top of Mt. Everest and imagining yourself—in all your windblown, frostbitten glory—standing […]