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An Introduction to Archetypal Stories

All art is necessarily both reflective and generative of the human experience. And in that way, all art both reflects and generates archetype. Some stories do this more simply and obviously than others. Those stories that we recognize as myth or fable are most blatantly archetypal. But even hyper-realistic stories—when they are well done—offer up […]

7 Steps to Stop Overthinking Your Writing

It’s a question I’ve received countless times from readers over the years—and one I’ve found myself asking of late as well: How do you stop overthinking your writing? Writers are often known as thinkers. Indeed, we’re often proud of the connotation. We spend a lot of time in our heads. We love to read. We […]

5 Questions About Scene Sequences

In many ways story structure is a fractal pattern. The same patterns we find on the macro level of the entire story arc also repeat themselves, within an ever-tightening spiral, from scene structure all the way down to sentence structure. Somewhere in between story and scene, we find scene sequences. Within the story’s larger narrative, […]

Are You Growing as a Writer? (Here’s the Only Way to Tell)

Do you want to grow as a writer? I know you do, simply because you are a writer. I know because you are here reading this post, either because you subscribe to this blog and others like it as a way to mainline writing knowledge on a regular basis, or because you stumbled onto this post […]

The Link Between Your Story’s Hook and Resolution

On a theoretical level, art often comes down to patterns. As readers and even writers we are not always conscious of these patterns, but whenever we are able to recognize that a story works—or does not work—usually what we are responding to is the comparative effectiveness of certain underlying patterns. This is perhaps nowhere more […]

7 Considerations for Your Antagonist’s Motivations (Which Will Save You SOOO Much Trouble)

Your antagonist’s motivations can make or break your story. If your antagonist’s motivations are weak, unconvincing, or over-complicated (which is usually symptomatic of the first two problems), then you will severely undermine your story in several key areas. Not only will you end up with a weak character to oppose your protagonist, but you may […]

The 3 Acts of a Writer’s Life–Or How Your Age Affects Your Writing

I’ve been writing consistently since I was twelve, which means I’ve now been writing for the (amazingly long very short?) period of twenty-two years. In that time, almost as much about my writing has changed as has remained the same. This is something I’ve been casually pondering for a while now. Then, last week, I […]

Need a good book editor? Top Recommendations

Need a Good Book Editor? Top Up-to-Date Recommendations

Where do I find a good book editor?  This is without doubt the question I receive most frequently from fellow writers. It’s a hard question to answer because, while finding an editor is easy, finding a good book editor is something else again. I originally published this post a few years ago after asking other […]

How to Know Which Parts of Your Story Readers Will Like Best (It Isn’t Always What You Think)

You want readers to like your story. You want to give them something to love on every single page. But it’s so much easier said than done. How can you know—really know—which parts of your story readers will like and which will have them yawning and skipping ahead? So many stories, in all mediums, hit […]

5 Questions for Choosing a Protagonist Who Represents Your Story’s Theme

Choosing a protagonist is often more of an event than a process. Writers sometimes feel more like the protagonist chooses them than the other way around. While most of us heed our first instinct to simply chase after this character to see where he goes, it’s important that at some point we analyze the soundness […]