Search Results for: bourne

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, […]

7 Ways to Write Thematically-Pertinent Antagonists

7 Ways to Write Thematically-Pertinent Antagonists

Thematically-pertinent antagonists are the lynchpin that holds together any successful story. You can write delicious protagonists, snappy dialogue, riveting conflict, and deep themes—and still, your story can fail simply because the antagonist was taken for granted as a leering, two-dimensional bad guy. We’ve talked before about how (somewhat non-intuitively) the character who provides the entire foundation for […]

Deepen Your Story with Character Misdirection

Deepen Your Story With Character Misdirection

In childhood, stories are always about exactly what they appear: “See Spot. See Spot run.” But as we grow older and our life experiences deepen, so do our story experiences. What emerges is often a complex weave of subtext and misdirection. Life isn’t always as we perceive it on its surface—and even when it is, half the […]

Arsenic and Old Lace

Movie: Directed by Frank Capra. Inciting Event: After secretly marrying Elaine Harper, his sweet old aunts’ next-door neighbor, cynical dramatic critic Mortimer Brewster accidentally discovers a dead body in his aunts’ window seat. He subsequently learns his aunts have poisoned twelve men and buried them in the cellar as one of their “charities” to help […]

The Only Reason Your Story Should Have Flashbacks

The Only Reason Your Story Should Have Flashbacks

Writers love their flashbacks. And with good reason. Flashbacks are a multi-functional technique for stepping outside your story’s timeline and sharing interesting and informative nuggets about your characters’ pasts. But just as they can be used to strengthen your story, they can even more easily cripple it. First things first: what is a flashback? A flashback […]

The Secret to Writing Dynamic Characters: It's Always Their Fault

The Secret to Writing Dynamic Characters: It’s Always Their Fault

It’s a morbid joke among writers: we are so mean to our characters. And we love it. It’s the stuff of good stories. It’s the stuff of epic conflict. And yet, all this very important imaginative cruelty can sometimes trip us up on our way to writing dynamic characters who can, in turn, deal with this epic […]

The Only 5 Ingredients You Need for Story Subtext

If there’s a magic ingredient in writing, it’s story subtext. It’s actually not magic, of course, any more than any of the other demystified techniques of structure, theme, or character arc. But story subtext often seems like magic simply because, by its very nature, it is the execution of the unexplained. Subtext is supposed to be invisible. It lives […]

how to plot your book start with the antagonist

How to Plot a Book: Start With the Antagonist

I hate antagonists. Not so much because they’re, you know, the bad guys. No, I hate them because 90% of the time, they bore me into catatonia. Evil plan to take over the world? Yawn. Just please do whatever you gotta do to make the hero look good. That’s how many authors approach their antagonists–as an […]

5 Important Ways Storytelling Is Different in Books vs. Movies

5 Important Ways Storytelling Is Different in Books vs. Movies

These days, everyone is writing movies. Including novelists. Not screenplays, mind you, but even if you’ve never touched a Celtx program and will never see your story on the big screen, you’re still writing movies. Our society is saturated by visual storytelling. It’s the cool kid on the block, da boss. Whether we’re talking Hollywood movies, TV shows, […]

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 […]