Amping Your Story Stakes: Why Even Positive Events Should Have Consequences

Amping Your Story Stakes: Why Even Positive Events Should Have Consequences

This week’s video offers another example from Jurassic Park for an easy way to instantly inject more continuity and tension in your story stakes. Video Transcript: Good fiction is about consequences. Something happens which causes something else to happen, which keeps the cause-and-effect ball rolling. If the cause has no effect, then the story peters […]

What Jurassic Park Can Teach You About Compounding Conflict in Your Story

What Jurassic Park Can Teach You About Compounding Conflict in Your Story

Think your story is falling a little flat? The problem might be that your conflict is too one-sided. The most interesting stories are always those that result from the complex interweaving of various threads of compounding conflict. In his book The Anatomy of Story, John Truby talks about “four-corner opposition”: A simplistic opposition between characters […]

Find Out Why Your Awesome Protagonist Is Boring Readers to Death

Find Out Why Your Awesome Protagonist Is Boring Readers to Death

This week’s video talks about the two reasons you may not be giving a great character enough to do—and how to fix the problem to avoid boring readers. Video Transcript: Your protagonist is fabulously interesting, I have no doubt of that. You wouldn’t be writing about him if he bored you. In fact, you’re probably […]

The Crucial Way to Figure Out How Much Time Your Story Should Cover

The Crucial Way to Figure Out How Much Time Your Story Should Cover

Do you know, off the top of your head, how much time your story should cover? If not, you’re definitely not alone. This is a tough question for most authors to answer. I keep track of the date and time of each scene in my story, and I still couldn’t tell you off the top of my head […]

4 Reasons You Might Be Missing Out on Your Best Plot Ideas

4 Reasons You Might Be Missing Out on Your Best Plot Ideas

Are you missing some of your best plot ideas? Some writers tell me they find it easy to create characters and story worlds, but struggle to create enough plot. What they often don’t realize is they already have significant and rather good plot material–if only they knew where to look. Here are four places where […]

3 Secret Functions of Your Books Title

3 Secret Functions of Your Book’s Chapter Titles

As a writer, you’re already aware of the power of your book’s title to identify its genre, allude to its subject matter, and create that first shiny hook to catch a reader’s eye. A title is your chance to stop the feet or finger of a hungry browser in a bookstore or online and to convince him […]

Keeping Secrets How to Make Your Book Un-Put-Down-able

Keeping Secrets: How to Make Your Book Un-Put-Down-able

Did you know there’s only one (count it: one!) reason readers read? This reason manifests in many different ways. One reader might call it a search for knowledge. Another might call it a desire to be swept away to unfamiliar worlds. Others might say they’re after adrenaline or maybe romance. But what those reasons all […]

Why Bullying (Your Protagonist) Is a Good Thing

When you watched the class bully shove the school nerd into his locker and hold his notebook out of reach in high school, you were probably the person looking on and wanting to do something to stop the situation. Given enough courage, you would rush into save the victim. On no terms would you actually […]

are you revealing your story's stakes at the ideal moment

Are You Revealing Your Story’s Stakes at the Ideal Moment?

Character motivations drive your story. The protagonist’s motivation is what informs his goal, which is what creates the plot. And motivation always comes down to your story’s stakes. What’s at stake for your characters? Why are they trying to win the war? Win their love interest? Win the race? What they get if they win […]

simplify your story before you lose readers

Simplify Your Story–Before You Lose Readers

This week’s video talks about the storytelling principle of “double mumbo jumbo,” why you should avoid it in your story, and how to simplify your story. Video Transcript: Complexity in fiction is a beautiful thing. But so is simplicity, particularly since not all complexity is good complexity. There’s a principle in storytelling, which the late […]