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Sign Up for the Structuring Your Novel Webinar!

The Structuring Your Novel: Discover the Proven Blueprint for Creating Stories That Sell webinar, is now available for sign up! This 90-minute presentation, hosted by Writer’s Digest, will be live online on March 31st at 1 PM EDT (although, once you sign up, you can listen or re-listen anytime you want for up to a year). […]

How to Create Awesome Scene Arcs That Surprise Readers

There is a secret to writing good scenes. And since scenes are the heart of story itself, it’s ultimately one of the most important secrets to writing good stories, period. You may be surprised to learn this secret is not scene structure (in the classic sense of goal / conflict / disaster / reaction / dilemma […]

Ready for Advanced Story Structure? [Free Download]

Ready for Advanced Story Structure? [Free Download]

If you’ve read all the books on story structure and concluded there has to be more to it than just three acts and a couple of plot points, then you’re absolutely right! It’s time to notch up your writing education from “basic” to “black belt.” My book Structuring Your Novel came out a few years ago. They have […]

3 Smart Tips for Structuring Powerful Scenes

It’s common wisdom that in structuring powerful scenes, we should open in media res—that is, while something is happening. And it’s generally best to bow out while things are still happening: close the dinner conversation with the last line of dialogue, not after everyone has fallen silent, gotten up from the table, washed the dishes, […]

Why Weak Plot Points Are Like the Bush-Gore Vote-Counting Debacle

Why Weak Plot Points Are Like the Bush-Gore Vote-Counting Debacle

This week’s video talks about the chief cause of weak plot points—and how you can make sure your story nails its crucial structural moments every time. Video Transcript: I want you to remember way back into ancient history. The year 2000. The 54th quadrennial United States presidential election between George W. Bush and Al Gore. […]

Never Confuse the Key Event and the First Plot Point in Your Book Again!

Maybe you’ve heard of the Key Event as part of story structure. Maybe you haven’t. If you haven’t, then you just might belong to the less confused of the two parties. One of the questions I get most often about the Key Event is: What the heck is it?! The first time I heard about the […]

A Reactive Protagonist Doesn't Have to Be a Passive Protagonist! Discover the Difference

A Reactive Protagonist Doesn’t Have to Be a Passive Protagonist! Discover the Difference

One of the stickiest questions any writer is likely to face is: What’s the difference between a reactive protagonist and a passive protagonist? If you’ve been studying story structure with me, then you know I talk a lot about how your protagonist needs to be reactive in the first half of the book. But this idea […]

How the Perfect Midpoint Moves Your Protagonist From Reaction to Action

How the Perfect Midpoint Moves Your Protagonist From Reaction to Action

I have to thank the Marvel movies for a lot of things–like my Captain America shield pillow, my Iron Man socks, my Spider-Man poster, my Hulk thumb-wrestler. Ahem. Where was I? Oh, yes, talking about being a writer, not a fan-girl. One other, slightly more important thing for which I have to thank the Marvel movies […]

The Heart of Your Story: What Is It, Where Is It, and How Do You Get There?

The Heart of a Story: What Is It, Where Is It, and How Do You Get There?

Scan the Table of Contents in most writing manuals and you’ll see the familiar menu of story mechanics. All good! Setting, characters, plot points and pillars, crisis, climax and resolution—without these ingredients we probably don’t have a fully-cooked story. But one essential is almost always missing—the heart of a story. Where is the heart of […]

Want Readers to Adore Your Book? Learn How to Ace Your Climactic Moment

Want Readers to Adore Your Book? Learn How to Ace Your Climactic Moment

Your story will contain many important moments. Actually, we could say with accuracy that every moment in your story is important, since any misstep could conceivably jar the whole line of dominoes out of sync. But the moment in your story is the Climactic Moment. This moment is the reason your story is even being told in […]