Search Results for: pinch points

The Power of Chiastic Story Structure (Especially in a Series)

When writers put on their story theorist caps, nothing is more exciting than those moments when you get to recognize consistent patterns emerging within obvious story forms. This is the basis of all of our understanding (and musing) about story, including the chiastic story structure we’ve been studying these past few months. Although writers sometimes […]

The Midpoint as the Swivel Point of Your Story’s Linked Structure

The “saggy middle” of a story is one of the biggest challenges writers face. The Second Act is twice as long as the other two acts and yet is often less clearly defined. What’s a writer to do to keep the pacing just as tight and the events just as interesting over the long haul […]

October 2020 | Podcast Episode Archive

Subscribe to the Helping Writers Become Authors podcast on Apple Podcast. Episode #522: The Link Between Your Story’s First Plot Point and Third Plot Point: Deepen your understanding of story structure by examining the parallel functions of the First Plot Point and the Third Plot Point. Episode #523: The Link Between Your Story’s Pinch Points: […]

5 Secrets of Story Structure Audio Book

I wanted to take a quick minute to let you know that there is now an audio book version of 5 Secrets of Story Structure, narrated once again by the lovely Sonja Field. I wrote 5 Secrets as kind of an unofficial sequel to Structuring Your Novel. You can think of 5 Secrets as a […]

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4 Pacing Tricks to Keep Readers’ Attention

Part 21 of The Do’s and Don’ts of Storytelling According to Marvel Stories live or die on their pacing. Great characters and concepts are the heartbeat of good fiction, but even the greatest can struggle to keep readers’ attention if the pacing is off. Pacing is a lot like tone. It varies depending on the type […]

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How to Write Emotion: An Experimental Study

Not too many years ago, I thought an accurately portrayed scene naturally caused readers to experience the emotions that the characters would logically feel in such situations. Not true! As Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi explain in The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression, we must take our innate skills of observation and […]

3 Tips for Writing a Story That’s Better Than Its Flaws

Steven Schwartz (composer and/or lyricist for musicals as varied as Pocahontas, Wicked, The Prince of Egypt, and Enchanted) has said  musicals are about structure first and foremost. If you get the structure right, then a multitude of sins can be forgiven. This is certainly the case in The Greatest Showman, whose sins are multitudinous. Any selection […]

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Now, Voyager

Movie: Directed by Irving Rapper. Inciting Event: On the brink of a nervous breakdown, repressed spinster Charlotte tells the story of her mother’s domination to a sympathetic psychiatrist. In the face her initial resistance (refusing the Call to Adventure), he convinces her to come stay at his sanitarium for a while—which is the first turning […]

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Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2

Movie: Directed by James Gunn. Inciting Event: After Rocket steals the Sovereign people’s priceless batteries, the Guardians are saved by a mysterious man riding his own spaceship. This man (Ego) will drive the main conflict, ergo his appearance is the first brush with that conflict. Meanwhile, protagonist Peter Quill’s old boss Yondu (who has been […]

The Great Novel-Writing Checklist (Just in Time for NaNoWriMo!)

I adore lists. They bring order to the chaos of my brain and allow me to rest in the knowledge that even if I don’t remember everything I have to do, the list remembers [spoken in an epic Jeremy Irons bass]. This is why today I’m going to share you with you my ultimate novel-writing checklist—and […]