Search Results for: protagonist

The Best Way to Make Use of Your Story’s Normal World

Writers can’t afford to waste readers’ time or test their patience by meandering about in their opening scenes. At first glance, this would seem to mean you have to get right to the point of the story. You might feel compelled to open your story right at the moment when your character’s world is changed […]

Keep Unlikable Characters From Alienating Readers

Keep Unlikable Characters From Alienating Readers

Because a strong character arc often requires a deep change of personality in the main character, writers are sometimes forced to begin their stories from the rather compromising basis of a main character who is less than likable. In some instances—redemption stories and their ilk, in particular—the main character starts out being a real jerk. […]

why writers can not afford to judge their characters

Why Writers Can’t Afford to Judge Their Characters

Every once in a while, a reader will ask which of my characters is my favorite. Usually, I come up with an answer based on the whim of the moment. But really, no matter what I say, it’s a lie. I don’t have a favorite character. As an author, I can’t afford to. If you’re […]

Is Backstory Sinking Your Book?

Backstory is often misunderstood, mostly because it has gained something of a bad reputation through misuse. It’s important you neither underestimate this crucial storytelling technique, nor allow it to overwhelm your main story. Backstory, as its name implies, is intended to stay in back of the main story. It’s never the point of the story, […]

How Inception Raises Its Stakes

In order to be good to their readers, authors have to be pretty nasty to their characters. An epigrammatic writing prompt once suggested: Think of the worst thing that could happen to your character. Then think of 10 ways to make it worse. That is how you up the stakes—by presenting your characters with hefty odds […]

6 Do’s and Don’ts of Creating Mystery in Your Novel

Creating mystery in your novel is important in every type of story, not just mysteries and suspense. The last time you stayed up into the wee hours of the morning, what was it that transformed your normally practical, serene self into an obsessive page-turning maniac? I’m willing to bet this month’s royalties it was something […]

5 Steps to Dazzling Minor Characters

5 Steps to Writing Minor Characters That Dazzle

In writing minor characters, authors must provide the color and conflict that fill the protagonist’s worlds. Because minor characters aren’t always confined to the necessities of a character arc or the demands of the plot, they often have the opportunity to be some of the most exciting personalities on the page. In my own stories, […]

How to Use Details to Suspend Disbelief

How to Use Details to Enhance Readers’ Suspension of Disbelief

Truth may be stranger than fiction, but fiction is plenty strange, especially in this era of vampires, dragons, time travel, and who knows what else! Because readers are accustomed to far-out premises that stretch reality all out of shape, most won’t blink an eye at a story that features any number of unbelievable phenomena. But […]

Avoid Lengthy Antagonist Narratives

How Much Screen Time Should Your Give Your Antagonist’s POV?

With literature so rich in fascinating bad guys—everyone from Hannibal Lecter to Captain Hook—it’s important to consider how much time you should actually give your antagonist’s POV. Occasionally, there comes a story in which the antagonist is more interesting than the protagonist. However, as a general rule, it’s accepted, and even expected, that the antagonist will […]

6 Reasons a Premise Sentence Strengthens Your Story

6 Reasons a Premise Sentence Strengthens Your Story

All stories begin with a premise (a battle in space, two people falling in love, a dog getting lost). But, often, the original conceptions are hazy and unformed. Sometimes, they’re not even a premise sentence, so much as the what-if question that will lead to a premise. What if a little boy’s brain grew too […]