Search Results for: subtext

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 […]

How to Write Emotional Scenes (Without Making Them Cringey)

Learning how to write emotional scenes is one of the single most important feats any writer must rise to. We want fiction to make us feel something. I’m not talking just a little twinge of satisfaction here or there. I’m talking full-on emotional experiences: tears, laughter, cheers, even rage on occasion. Scenes in which characters […]

How to Structure Stories With Multiple Main Characters?

One of the most common questions I’m asked is how to structure stories with multiple main characters. If you have two (or more) characters who are equally important to the story and receive equal POV time, how should you balance them when structuring your novel? At its core, story structure is a simple equation: one […]

Understanding the New Normal World of a Story’s Resolution

A story’s Resolution is a tiny section of the overall story. From the perspective of structural timing, the Resolution represents 2% or even less of the story’s total running time. Some stories give it the generous portion of as much as a few chapters. But in other stories, the Resolution may be implied more than […]

Understanding the Normal World of a Story’s First Act

No matter their genre or focus, stories are about something happening—a shift in the status quo. Where the characters begin is not where they end. This may refer to their literal physical surroundings, or to a more metaphorical state of being—or, very possibly, to both. Whatever the case, it is important for authors to understand […]

How to Write About the Pandemic (or Not)

Note From KMW: For almost two years now, a question I have frequently received from readers is: “How to write about the pandemic?” Most often, I’ve heard this question from those who are (or were) writing stories set in the present day or the near future. Now that both have changed, perhaps forever, in ways both […]

Conflict in Fiction: What It Really Is and Why It’s Important to Plot

Conflict is one of the central engines of story. We’ve all heard it: no conflict, no story. On the surface, that makes total sense. But I find there can be a lot of confusion around the word “conflict.” What is conflict in fiction really? What is its purpose? What does it look like in a […]