Search Results for: climax

Writing Multiple Plotlines: Everything You Need to Know

Note From KMW: Hello and welcome to today’s post, in which I am trying something a bit different! Chances are you have either written or considered writing multiple plotlines in a story. These versatile and multi-faceted stories are all the rage (they always were—just ask Dickens!). But adding complexity to what is already the wonderfully […]

Figure Out Your Story’s Magic System Using Story Structure

From KMW: If you’ve ever written a story that falls into the broad genre of speculative fiction (fantasy, science fiction, and all their many many subgenres), then you may have faced one of the main challenges of the genre: creating a magic system. A magic system can be anything from a thoroughly elaborate high concept […]

How to Use Archetypes in a Series

One of the most common questions I receive is how to use archetypes in a series. The short answer is: however you want! Archetypes are endlessly adaptable. However, there are several important considerations to keep in mind. Most have to do with understanding the shape of the story you’re going to be telling over the […]

Where Should You Start Plotting Your Story?

Where should you start plotting your story? Why, at the beginning of course! Except… when it comes to fiction, it’s not always that simple, is it? One of the key principles of story theory is “the ending is in the beginning.” What this means is that any consideration of how best to begin a story […]

What Are Plot Devices? (Why You Should Be Cautious)

What are plot devices? Basically, they’re exactly what they sound like: events that maneuver the plot in particular directions. All stories are built on plot devices. In truth, everything that happens in a story is a plot device. Story structure beats are plot devices. Character arc beats are plot devices. Plot devices are the little […]

A New Way to Think About the Lie the Character Believes

One of the simplest entry points to understanding how story works is the Lie the Character Believes. It is the fulcrum of any character arc or thematic discussion within a story. It’s also the gasoline in the engine of a character’s inner conflict—and, by extension, it can either power the outer conflict or at least […]

What Does Your Character Want? Desire vs. Plot Goal vs. Moral Intention vs. Need

We often hear “conflict is story.” What does that mean? If we walk it back, we see that conflict is driven by opposition. That opposition stands between the characters and something they want. Therefore, we could just as easily say “desire is story.” But that isn’t always simple to figure out either, particularly since story […]

Backstory-as-Story vs. Alternating Timelines (Backstory Techniques, Pt. 2 of 3)

Backstory techniques are crucial to the success of any type of story. Whether you share all of your characters’ pertinent backstories or none, backstory still informs the entire story. What, when, and how to share backstory are important decisions for any writer. Making the right choices will determine not just whether or not your backstory works, but possibly […]

Here Are Two Ways to Write Organic Themes

Organic themes are symbiotic with their stories’ plots. This is because when everything is working well in a story, plot and theme are two halves of a whole, each one “proving” the other. When plot and theme are not working together, that’s a sure sign your story is in trouble. Theme can be a tricky […]

Genre Tips: How to Write Horror

Note From KMW: I’ve been delighted to hear that so many of you have enjoyed the “Genre Tips” we’ve been exploring these past five weeks. Today, I’m happy to share a surprise post to finish off the series! Welcome to “How to Write Horror.” As you may remember, I crafted the series around the five […]