The Crucial Link Between Your Story’s Inciting Event and Climactic Moment

We talk about story being an arc, but in many ways it is more of a circle. A well-constructed story is a seamless whole in which its two halves reflect each other. We see this clearly in classic story structure, and perhaps nowhere more crucially than in the link between a story’s Inciting Event and […]

15 Steps to Self-Publish Your Book

What are the steps to self-publish your book? The modern boom of independent publishing has put the power to publish in the hands of authors—if they choose to use it. But even once you’ve decided in favor of the indie route over the traditional path of soliciting agents and pitching to publishing-house gatekeepers, what are […]

7 Considerations for Your Antagonist’s Motivations (Which Will Save You SOOO Much Trouble)

Your antagonist’s motivations can make or break your story. If your antagonist’s motivations are weak, unconvincing, or over-complicated (which is usually symptomatic of the first two problems), then you will severely undermine your story in several key areas. Not only will you end up with a weak character to oppose your protagonist, but you may […]

Afraid to Let Anyone Read Your Writing? 5 Steps to Move Past Fears

One of the best things about writing is being read. Unfortunately, that can also be one of the scariest things. When you’re just starting out, it can feel like a huge jump to let someone else read your story for the first time. It feels like another jump to move past the eyes of kindly […]

5 Exercises for Honing Your Story Instincts

How strong are your story instincts? This abstract and sometimes elusive concept rests at the very bottom of a writer’s toolkit. Your story instincts determine how successful your storytelling is, and whether you are able to offer readers the all-important “it” factor. Your story instincts are the foundation onto which you build with all the […]

Critique: 4 Ways to Write Sequel Scenes That Grip Readers

Scene structure asks for a one-two punch pairing of action and reaction—or as Dwight V. Swain named them in what has come to be considered “classic” scene structure, scene and sequel. The need to write sequel scenes, the reaction half of the equation, is sometimes overlooked and misunderstood. This is unfortunate, since the reaction phase […]

7 Misconceptions About Being a Writer

Like any good story, the writing life is a tale of deceptive depth. At first glance, it offers up a shiny, artsy, fun cover. Become a Writer! its title beckons, and its first chapters lure us in by fulfilling all these initial promises. But the deeper we get, the further we go, the more we realize […]

4 Questions to Prevent Plot Holes

How peachy would the writing life be if we didn’t have to prevent plot holes. Just imagine—you could write anything you wanted to, and every single thing would make sense. No need to worry about the fact that your two awesome scenes actually don’t make sense side by side. They get to be in the […]

Structuring Your Story’s Scenes, Pt. 9: Options for Dilemmas in a Scene Sequel

If the first part of your sequel*—the reaction—appeals to your readers’ emotions, the second part is all about the intellect. Once your characters’ first-blush emotional responses to the previous scene’s disaster has passed, they will have to get down to the all-important business of thinking about what they’re going to do next. The previous disaster has […]

Most Common Writing Mistakes: Characters Who Lack Purpose

Raise your hand if you love to be bored. What’s this, you say? You don’t like wandering around the house, puttering aimlessly at half a dozen jobs, flipping through TV channels and finding zero of interest, or poking around the Internet and smacking your head against the keyboard with the sheer futility of it all? If […]