Search Results for: theme

surroundings

How to Choose the Right Antagonist for Any Type of Story

Here’s how to choose the right antagonist for your story. You know “If I Didn’t Have You”—that song John Goodman and Billy Crystal belt out at the end of Monsters, Inc.? It’s this total bromance duet about the undying friendship of our two favorite monsters. But pretty much every lyric in there could also be […]

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 […]

A Challenge to Write Life-Changing Fiction (+Giveaway)

Stories have intentions. That wonderful idea was just one of many nuggets I found myself highlighting in what has so far turned out to be my surprise read of the year—noted literary agent Donald Maass’s The Emotional Craft of Fiction. Like many of you, I cut my teeth on Maass’s now-classic Writing the Breakout Novel, but […]

struggling to be creative

Are You Struggling to Be Creative? This Might Be Why

I talk to my wonderful mother on the phone every night. We talk about everything from health to books to psychology to faith to whatever might be making us grumpy at the moment. This week while discussing health and diet, she shared something she’d read that said she was now at the beginning of the […]

character's inner conflict

Creating Your Character’s Inner Conflict: Want vs. Need

Man vs. Self—it’s the most archetypal of all stories. This is because all stories are ultimately rooted in the primal and personal struggle of a character’s inner conflict. As individuals, our conflicts with others or the world itself are almost inevitably either reflections or projections of our inner conflicts—our cognitive dissonances, our conflicting wants and […]

September 2019 | Podcast Episode Archive

Subscribe to the Helping Writers Become Authors podcast on Apple Podcast. Episode #477: Creating Your Character’s Inner Conflict: Want vs. Need: Learn how a character’s inner conflict is framed around a nuanced struggle between the Thing the Character Wants and the Thing the Character Needs. Episode #478: Critique: 10 Ways to Write Excellent Dialogue: Because […]

How to Use a “Truth Chart” to Figure Out Your Character’s Arc

“How do I figure out my character’s arc?” This is a question I receive commonly—and with good reason. Not only is your character’s arc central to all your other story choices—plot and theme foremost among them—character arc can also seem like one of the most daunting parts of story. Mostly this is because of its […]

TOO MUCH PLOT HEADER

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 […]

August 2019 | Podcast Episode Archive

Subscribe to the Helping Writers Become Authors podcast on Apple Podcast. Episode #474: Learn 5 Types of Character Arc at a Glance, Pt. 2: The 3 Negative Arcs (Part 2 of 2): Writing a tragedy or dark story? Here’s a beat-by-beat look at the three Negative Arcs–the Disillusionment Arc, the Fall Arc, and the Corruption […]

types of character arc heroic arcs

Learn 5 Types of Character Arc at a Glance: The 2 Heroic Arcs (Part 1 of 2)

There are only two or three human stories, but they go on repeating themselves as fiercely as if they never happened.–Willa Cather The many different approaches to story theory break down the number of “human stories” into different categories. Perhaps there are just two—comedy and tragedy. Perhaps there are Vonnegut’s eight “shapes.” Today, I’m going […]