Search Results for: subtext

Creating Stunning Character Arcs The Second Half of the Second Act

Creating Stunning Character Arcs, Pt. 11: The Second Half of the Second Act

The Second Half of the Second Act is where you cue the hero music in character arcs. Thanks to that major personal revelation at the Midpoint, the protagonist now gets it. The puzzle pieces are falling into place. The light bulbs have flashed on. He sees what he has to do to win the conflict. […]

why good premises dont make good stories

Why Good Concepts Don’t Make Good Stories

If this isn’t a proverb, it should be: “A good concept doth not a good story make.” Hang on there. Am I nuts? Haven’t I seen any of these high-concept gems gushing out of Hollywood these days? Didn’t I like Inception, The Avengers, and The Hunger Games? Well, yeah. Of course I did. But I didn’t […]

How Minor Characters Help You Discover Theme

How Minor Characters Help You Discover Theme

Is theme the moral of a story? Is it the message an author wants to share? Or is it something more inherent to the plot itself? If this were a multiple-choice test, then I’d hope you would have chosen C. Although theme is potentially both a moral and a message, neither of these should be […]

Your Protagonist’s Special Trait: Making Characters Stand Out

Do you know your protagonist’s special trait? No doubt you’re familiar with the idea of ordinary/extraordinary in a story. We often find ordinary characters in extraordinary circumstances and extraordinary characters standing out in an otherwise ordinary world. These extraordinary elements are what make stories unique and fascinating. Many authors tend to think their characters are […]

Is Your Novel's Backstory Big Enough?

Is Your Novel’s Backstory Big Enough?

With all the superhero movies these days, we are seeing a lot of origin stories. And I gotta say: I love that. I love origin stories, not just because they’re a fun glimpse into the beginning stages of a familiar character, but mostly because they’re stories with psychological ramifications. They’re stories about becoming, about making choices. […]

Most Common Writing Mistakes: Overexplaining

Authors are in a tough spot. Readers expect us to supply them with enough info to help them imagine our story worlds and our characters’ emotions in vivid details. But readers also expect us to never provide too many details. They want us to explain; but they never want us to overexplain. Overexplaining can manifest in several […]

3 Ways to Add Repetition That Pleases Readers

We all know to avoid “bad” repetition—our overused pet words, unintended echoing phrases, and repetitive sentence structure. But there’s also useful repetition that we can use to enhance our stories. Repetition can be used to reinforce a sense of unity or to supply readers with a satisfying feeling after tying up loose ends. Let’s look at three examples […]

Add Muscle to Your Fiction With Unity and Contrast

Our eyes see the world in shades of light and dark. Without one or the other, details fade into invisibility. The painting technique known as chiaroscuro (which as Lemony Snicket would say, is a big, big word meaning, quite literally, “light-dark”) makes full use of the contrast between light and dark to pull details into […]

How to Discover the Purpose of Every Scene in Your Story

In creating meaningful and effective scenes, the most important questions writers should ask are: What is the focus of this scene? What is its purpose? Let’s a take a look at how to find the best answers to these questions. How to Find Your Scene’s Purpose Scenes are created in one of two ways. 1. […]

When Arguments Are a Good Thing: Conflict in Dialogue

Most authors and their readers will agree that nothing beats a good bout of dialogue. Witty, poignant, romantic, angry—it’s all good. We all love it when characters open their big mouths and let fly. But creating good dialogue isn’t as easy as saying the first thing that pops to mind. Good dialogue is all about […]