Search Results for: climax

Deus Ex Machina: Latin for “Don’t Do This in Your Story”

By the time you reach the end of your book, you’re sometimes out of steam, sometimes out of ideas, sometimes sick of your story, and sometimes just plain wrong about how to end it. As a result, you might find yourself walking through yellow caution tape into the pothole of deus ex machina before you […]

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3 Easy (or Easier) Ways to Build Suspense

Recently, while writing a short story, I encountered the problem of its being too short. My editor complimented the storyline and structure but indicated something about the writing was missing. It was too short, too bland, too summative and passive instead of being descriptive and active. Finally, I found all these things centered on one […]

Has Your Protagonist Changed? Prove It!

Personal transformations are always at the heart of strong character arcs. Our protagonists are faced with trials that force them to acknowledge their own inadequacies and then, usually, change their ways in a manner that allows them to overcome both their faults and, as a result, the bad guy. This moment of personal revelation and […]

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Why You Should Spend More Time on Character Development Than Action

Authors sometimes feel pressured to dive right into the action of their stories—at the expense of important character development. Because the last thing we want to do is write a boring story, we sometimes overreact by piling on explosions, fight sequences, and high-speed car chases to the point we’re unable to spend important time developing […]

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3 Traits Your Hero and Villain Should Share

When we think of good guys and bad guys, we think of people who are diametrically opposed to one another. Yet the best kind of story is usually one that features a hero and villain who share more in common than not. In fact, the more similar your hero and villain, the stronger your story, […]

The 4 Most Common Mistakes Fiction Editors See

Wouldn’t it be great if nobody ever needed an editor? If all of our stories and novels appeared in readers’ minds just as beautifully and vividly and succinctly they do in our own? Wouldn’t it be great if the story we think we’ve told were, in fact, the story we’ve told? There are more aspiring […]

8 Ways to ripen Your Stories

8 Reasons to Let Your Stories Ripen

Whenever you come up with a wonderful new story idea, it can be tempting to immediately sit down at the keyboard and start bringing it to life on the page. But that’s not always the best way to turn that sparkling new idea into a worthwhile and enduring story. In his book How to Write […]

External and Internal Conflict: The Killer Combination

A general writing rule of thumb states that every page of your story should contain conflict. But sometimes it can be difficult to think up enough conflict to fill the nooks and crannies. After all, your hero can’t be battling it out with the villain on every single page. So what to do? The secret […]

Why Your Character’s Motive Matters

How to Find Powerful Motives for Your Characters

You will often be judged by what you do. To a large extent, you are what you do. However, because others’ perceptions of your actions don’t penetrate to the reasons behind your actions,  you will often be judged incorrectly, or even unjustly. It’s no different for your characters. In a book, as much as in life, a person’s […]

Change Is Key to Powerful Character Arcs

Create Powerful Character Arcs in 6 Steps

The secret to a memorable character isn’t so much creating a strong personality as it is creating a strong character arc. You can come up with the most entertaining, marvelous characters imaginable, but unless you also give them powerful character arcs, their stories will lack depth and power. Character arcs are fundamentally about change. You can […]