Checklist for Beginning Your Story: Plot Considerations

Welcome to this week’s post, which is a continuation of what we talked about in last month’s video when we started a checklist of important elements to consider for your story’s beginning. Last time, we specifically talked about what you need to consider in regards to character and all of the many elements you can […]

How to Use Antagonists in Your Story: The Right Way and the Wrong Way

How to use antagonists in your story is a critical skill that can either elevate or undermine your entire story. In many ways, antagonists are the true architects of unforgettable plots, and as you navigate the path between narrative brilliance and potential pitfalls, the art of utilizing your story’s antagonists becomes crucial to success. When […]

Writing Multiple Plotlines: Everything You Need to Know

Note From KMW: Hello and welcome to today’s post, in which I am trying something a bit different! Chances are you have either written or considered writing multiple plotlines in a story. These versatile and multi-faceted stories are all the rage (they always were—just ask Dickens!). But adding complexity to what is already the wonderfully […]

How to Use Archetypes in a Series

One of the most common questions I receive is how to use archetypes in a series. The short answer is: however you want! Archetypes are endlessly adaptable. However, there are several important considerations to keep in mind. Most have to do with understanding the shape of the story you’re going to be telling over the […]

Where Should You Start Plotting Your Story?

Where should you start plotting your story? Why, at the beginning of course! Except… when it comes to fiction, it’s not always that simple, is it? One of the key principles of story theory is “the ending is in the beginning.” What this means is that any consideration of how best to begin a story […]

What Are Plot Devices? (Why You Should Be Cautious)

What are plot devices? Basically, they’re exactly what they sound like: events that maneuver the plot in particular directions. All stories are built on plot devices. In truth, everything that happens in a story is a plot device. Story structure beats are plot devices. Character arc beats are plot devices. Plot devices are the little […]

The Two Most Important Tricks for How to Build Suspense

Perhaps the greatest skill necessary to keep readers glued to your pages is learning how to build suspense. Whether you’re writing a thriller or a quiet romance, suspense of one type or another is what makes readers race to the end of your story. Suspense comes in many different flavors, everything from the threat of […]

How to Pull Off a Plot Twist

Readers love a well done plot twist. They like to have the rug skillfully pulled out from under their feet at the last minute in a way that changes everything they understood about the story, while simultaneously making them see everything with perfect clarity. One of my favorite romance authors, Kristen Heitzmann, gives us some clues […]

7 Tips for How to Add Complexity to Your Story

So you want to add complexity to your story. Most authors do. Complexity just sounds so… sophisticated. It sounds like one of those novels or films that are taken apart and analyzed by really smart critics and professors. It sounds like taking your story to the next level. And in some ways, it is. Complex […]

Is Your Story Too Complicated? Here Are 9 Signs

Calling a story “complex” is a high compliment. But what is complexity? How can we learn how to write stories that are complex—without skidding across that narrow dividing line into complicated? What’s the difference between a complex story and a complicated story? And is your story too complicated? This a topic I’ve spent quite some […]