Search Results for: subtext

How to Write Interesting Happy Scenes? 6 Tips

With so much emphasis in fiction writing put upon the importance of conflict, a seemingly apt question is, “How can you write interesting happy scenes?” This was the question recently posed to me by Elena Singleterry, who wrote: If possible, I would like to ask a question about writing a happy scene. In my book, […]

8 Different Types of Scenes

Any story will require many different types of scenes. Some of this variety will come from content (romance vs. action vs. humor vs. tragedy). However, much of the variety in types of scenes will arise from the needs of pacing. Authors can find great value in understanding some of the different types of scenes, so […]

5 Ways to Use Your Character’s Shadows to Power Your Story

Complex characters mirror real-life humans in their contradictions of inner light and dark. As writers, it is our job to create these contrasts in ways that become cohesive and thematically meaningful. One of the simplest—and most effective—ways to do this is to explore shadow theory. In last week’s post, we talked about the concept of […]

Why There’s No Such Thing as “Just a Story”

Every so often, I will hear someone say, “It’s just a story.” Most often, I hear this said in situations in which a story is being critiqued. In response to comments that a story failed to reach its potential because it lacked theme or plot structure or strong characterization, a person might insist, “Well, it’s […]

The Backstory Drip (Backstory Techniques, Pt. 3 of 3)

What are the best backstory techniques you can use in your story? Over the past two weeks, we’ve been discussing some of the options writers have for sharing backstory in their stories. So far, we’ve talked about four specialized techniques, analyzing their respective advantages, disadvantages and best-use practices: Flashbacks Prologues Backstory-as-Story Alternating Timelines All four […]

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 […]

Prologues vs. Flashbacks (Backstory Techniques, Pt. 1 of 3)

If you want to rev up a group of passionate writers, just bring up the topic of backstory. As much as we love our stories, we often love our backstories even more. If plot offers a what and a how, backstory is often the why. It can provide both context and subtext, bringing depth, understanding, and […]

Genre Tips: How to Write Fantasy

Genre is an important consideration for any writer. Not only can identifying your story’s genre (and perhaps subgenre) help you create cohesion and resonance amongst your plot, character arcs, and theme, it will also be a crucial piece of information when it comes time to market your story to readers. Today, I’m opening a five-part […]

Master List of Answers to Most Asked-For Writing Topics on This Site

You who read this site and participate in the discussions are an endless source of inspiration to me. This is true in many ways, but most literally in that when you ask deeply insightful questions, you often give me great ideas for posts about writing topics! A few months ago, I asked you all to […]

7 Tips for How to Add Complexity to Your Story

So you want to add complexity to your story. Most authors do. Complexity just sounds so… sophisticated. It sounds like one of those novels or films that are taken apart and analyzed by really smart critics and professors. It sounds like taking your story to the next level. And in some ways, it is. Complex […]