7 Things You Need to Know About Plotting and Editing

7 Things You Need to Know About Plotting and Editing

When starting a new novel, a writer needs to overcome several challenges. Planning your plot is definitely one of those. You must decide on the elements that will define your story and that will help you deliver it to your audience in the right way, by creating a clear structure that helps readers progress from […]

The Nanowrimo Guide to Outilining (the First 4 Questions to Ask Yourself)

Start Your Outline With These 4 Questions (How to Outline for NaNoWriMo, Pt. 2)

“Where do you start your outline?” is a question I often receive. Now, if the obvious answer “start at the beginning” were, in fact, the right answer, no one would be asking this. The reason writers ask this question is because, when properly approached, outlines are anything but linear—which can make the “beginning” rather hard to identify. Whether you’re […]

How to Get Up Cclose with Your Characters

How to Get Up Close With Your Characters

To create believable characters, novelists develop profiles. These descriptions of their characters—from birth conditions to major life event; weight, hair, and eye color; and character traits guide them as they write. However, concrete details about the imaginary people who inhabit the pages of your manuscript don’t allow you to experience them. You can’t get up […]

How to Outline for NaNoWriMo: Should You Outline Your Novel?

How to Outline for NaNoWriMo: Should You Outline Your Novel?

Welcome to October—otherwise known as Cram Like Crazy for National Novel Writing Month (maybe we should call it CraLiFoNaNoMoWriMo—it’s got a certain ring, right?). Maybe you’re a NaNo veteran. Maybe you’re a tentative first-timer. Or maybe you’re not interested in writing 50,000 words in 30 days, but just want to figure out should you outline […]

Learn How to Set Up the Potential for Change in Character Arcs

Note from K.M. Weiland: Welcome to a special follow-up post to my (temporarily) completed series The Do’s and Don’ts of Storytelling According to Marvel. Wordplayer and frequent blog commenter Usvaldo de Leon, Jr. (who will no doubt remind me “commenter” is not a word!) sent me the following thoughts on the use of excellent character arcs […]

7 Questions You Have About Scenes vs. Chapters

7 Questions You Have About Scenes vs. Chapters

A chapter is a chapter and a scene is a scene. Or are they? What’s the differences between scenes vs. chapters? Are they ever the same thing? Must a chapter always be a complete scene? Or must a scene always be a chapter? What about scene breaks and chapter breaks? Is there a difference? These […]

How to Be a Gutsy Writer: Stay True to Your Characters

How to Be a Gutsy Writer: Stay True to Your Characters

Part 13 of The Do’s and Don’ts of Storytelling According to Marvel Sometimes the greatest act of courage any person can perform is simply that of being honest. This is arguably more valid for writers than for just about anyone—and it is nowhere more valid than in being willing to stay true to your characters. Here’s the thing […]

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 […]

How to Choose the Right Antagonist for Your Story

Part 12 of The Do’s and Don’ts of Storytelling According to Marvel What’s the secret of how to choose the right antagonist for your story? If you’re thinking it’s probably a little more complicated than simply making him a “bad” guy who’s out to get your protagonist, you’re definitely on the right track. In fact, how to choose […]

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 […]