How the Truth Your Character Believes Defines Theme

How the Truth Your Character Believes Defines Your Theme

Part 18 of The Do’s and Don’ts of Storytelling According to Marvel The best stories always rest upon the foundation of believable character change and thematic depth. In turn, these two vital elements pivot upon the fulcrum of the Lie Your Character Believes and the Truth Your Character Believes. The Truth Your Character Believes is the […]

Cohesion and Resonance! Cohesion and Resonance! Cohesion and Resonance!

Cohesion and Resonance! Cohesion and Resonance! Cohesion and Resonance!

So many pieces have to come together to create skillful fiction that it’s almost disingenuous to suggest there are only one or two that make or break the story. But turns out: it’s true. And if my marquee-style post title wasn’t enough to give it away, let me spell it out: for a story to work, […]

secrets of storytelling

The 5 Secrets of Good Storytelling (That Writers Forget All the Time)

I’m having a harder and harder time getting excited about stories these days. Not because I don’t love stories, but because I do love them—and because it’s ever-increasingly difficult to find truly great ones that employ all the secrets of good storytelling. By “great stories,” I mean stories that are put together with intelligence, understanding, passion, […]

How To Writing Meaningful Comedy

4 Ways to Write Meaningful Comedy

Notoriously, comedy is one of the most difficult forms of writing. This isn’t because it’s so hard to write a gag or a line that’s funny. Life’s a pretty hilarious place, after all. No, it’s difficult because translating goofiness into meaning is vastly more difficult. These days, we tend to think of comedy as fluff—silly people […]

How to Write Stories Readers Will Actually Remember

How to Write Stories Your Readers Will Remember

Think back about the books you read and the movies you watched in the last year (heck, think about just the ones you experienced in the last month). Which do you still remember vividly? Which are already foggy in your memory? Now: which type of story do you want to write? No-brainer, of course. You want to […]

Powerful Themes in Captain American Winter Soldier

Is This the Single Best Way to Write Powerful Themes?

Part 9 of The Do’s and Don’ts of Storytelling According to Marvel The longer I study stories, the more convinced I am that the one single thing that sets apart the great stories from the meh ones is theme. What this means, of course, is that figuring out how to write powerful themes is possibly the most […]

How to Create a Complex Moral Argument for Your Theme

How to Create a Complex Moral Argument for Your Theme

On their surface, stories are nothing more than entertainment. They’re fun little ditties about cool people doing interesting things. But that’s not all stories are. Even the simplest of stories are saying something–they’re positing a moral argument about the world we live in. Cool, right? Even when we don’t intend to share a “message” with […]

Your Fiction May Be Failing for One Simple Reason: You’re Not Being Honest

Your Fiction May Be Failing for One Simple Reason: You’re Not Being Honest

Writers talk a lot about “being honest,” “being vulnerable,” “pouring ourselves into our writing,” and “not being self-conscious” in our writing. But what does all that really mean? And how can flunking any of the above be the reason your fiction may be failing? What Is Honest Fiction? Let’s begin by asking the obvious question: What […]

Your Plot and Theme: Are They a Team?

We all know writing a book is no easy task. The reason it’s ultimately so tricky is that a novel must bring together about a gazillion little working pieces, which the author then has to somehow fit together, so they all start ticking together as a seamless whole. That’s like taking apart a Swiss watch and trying […]

Stories That Matter: 5 Necessary Factors for Weighty Fiction

Stories That Matter: 5 Necessary Factors for Weighty Fiction

What is weighty fiction? I would argue that it is, almost unto itself, the definition for stories that matter. It’s the opposite of fluffy fiction (which isn’t to say there’s anything wrong with fluff–we all enjoy a fair share of that as well). Most authors want to write something that matters. Even if we’re never going to […]