Search Results for: subtext

6 Questions to Help You Avoid Repetitive Scenes

It takes a lot of scenes to make a novel. Not only do we need enough scenes to progress the plot and get the characters from Point A to Point B, we also need to reach a certain word count so the book can be a novel. (Or the movie can be a movie. Ya […]

Archetypal Character Arcs, Pt. 22: How to Use Archetypal Character Arcs in Your Stories

And so we find ourselves (almost) at the end of a nearly six-month journey through the possibilities of archetypal character arcs. If you’ve stuck with me through what is by far the longest series I have ever shared, then I hope, like me, you are enthralled and excited by the possibilities that archetypes offer for […]

Using All Four Cognitive Functions as a Writer

My heart is so full as I write this. So many things going on in the world right now—both good and bad. It makes me reflect, not for the first time, on the tremendous gift given to writers in the simple fact that we have a place to put not just our feelings, but every […]

Critique: 7 Possible Hooks for Your Opening Chapter

What are some good hooks for your opening chapter? This is a question every writer must ask at the beginning of a story. How can we introduce the story and the characters in a plot-pertinent way that also deeply interests readers? A good hook sets your book apart. It promises readers you’re going to deliver […]

Critique: 6 Tips for Introducing Characters

Most of the time, I hate real-life introductions. For one thing, I almost always forget the person’s name in the rush of shaking hands, smiling, and saying something charmingly banal. Then there’s the small talk, important but often tedious. Squirm. But that’s most of the time—because occasionally I run into one of those special people […]

6 Steps to Create Realistic (and Powerful) Scene Dilemmas

Scenes are the building blocks of your story. As go your scenes, so goes your story. If the scenes present a solid chain of deliberate structure, that’s what your story will be. But if too many scenes lack focus or dramatic impetus, so will the story. Every aspect of scene structure is important. Any aspect […]

A Writer’s Guide to Understanding People

“Write three-dimensional characters.” “Bring your characters to life.” “Create realistic human experiences.” These ditties of writing advice are so common they’re almost clichés. But how can you fulfill these dictums to write “real characters” without first mastering the even more foundational principle of understanding people? Recently, I received an email from a reader, which raised […]

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Critique: 10 Ways to Write Excellent Dialogue

For many people, dialogue is the heartbeat of fiction. As arguably the only true form of “showing” in written fiction, it offers an inexhaustible source of energy for dramatizing characters, catalyzing conflict, and enhancing every available opportunity for entertainment. That’s why it’s so important to take full of advantage of dialogue, and that’s why we’re […]

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How to Tell if Your Story Has Too Much Plot, Not Enough Character

Can a story have too much plot? It might surprise you (especially if you’re a regular reader of the site), but the answer is absolutely, yes. Implicit in the question of too much plot is the idea that a story should have more of something else. Usually that something else is character. This is where we […]

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Critique: 4 Ways to Write Gripping Internal Narrative

The old joke about how “the book was better than the movie” is a reflection of several attributes written fiction offers over visual fiction. One of the main ones is the ability to get inside characters’ heads via internal narrative. Narrative, by its very nature, is narrated by someone. Usually, that someone is the protagonist. […]