Use the Enneagram to Write Better Characters2

5 Ways to Use the Enneagram to Write Better Characters

The Enneagram. Maybe you’ve heard of it. Maybe you’ve even used the Enneagram to write better characters. Like Myers-Briggs, Socionics, and the Four Temperaments, the Enneagram is one of many systems within the study of personality theory. These systems are designed to identify the patterns found in the different ways we approach various aspects of […]

Use Plot, Character, and Theme in Every Scene

How to Intertwine Plot, Character, and Theme in Every Scene

If plot, character, and theme are the foundational underpinnings of story itself, then they must be present in every scene as well, right? But that gets tricky. How can you make sure these elements are doing their job in every scene? And if they’re not present in every scene, does that necessarily mean the scene is […]

5 Steps to Writing Great Character Chemistry

5 Steps to Writing Great Character Chemistry

What is character chemistry? And how can you use it to make your story un-put-down-able? We most often hear about character chemistry in reference to actors—particularly those playing love interests to each other. Chemistry is hard to define but easy to spot. When two people show up on stage together and the result is a […]

4 Ways to Write a Better Anta

4 Ways to Write a Better Antagonist

Part 19 of The Do’s and Don’ts of Storytelling According to Marvel I have to believe Thanos would be a good writer. Why? Because he totally understands one of the most important principles of story theory: Pretty, isn’t it? Perfectly balanced. As all things should be. Too much to one side or the other… [and it […]

How to Spot and Avoid Self-Indulgent Writing:

How to Spot and Avoid Self-Indulgent Writing

As writers, we have the opportunity to live lives of creativity, in which we get to craft whole worlds that conform to our every whim. Whether you’re writing your first book or your thirtieth, it’s always going to be a heady experience. But this comes with certain inherent pitfalls. Sometimes all this power can go […]

secrets of storytelling

The 5 Secrets of Good Storytelling (That Writers Forget All the Time)

I’m having a harder and harder time getting excited about stories these days. Not because I don’t love stories, but because I do love them—and because it’s ever-increasingly difficult to find truly great ones that employ all the secrets of good storytelling. By “great stories,” I mean stories that are put together with intelligence, understanding, passion, […]

How to Write Funny

Part 17 of The Do’s and Don’ts of Storytelling According to Marvel If you ask me, the trifecta of must-have story elements are: relationships, action, and humor. Of the three, arguably the most difficult is learning how to write funny. You can’t fake humor. It either works or it doesn’t. This might prompt some writers to […]

Creating Character Arcs Workbook Launch

Introducing the Creating Character Arcs Workbook!

All you need to create a solid story is a solid character arc. If you can do that, chances are good you’ve also written a book that will give readers a solid experience with story structure and theme. This is why the study and practical execution of character arcs has become one of my primary […]

How to Amplify Your Characters' Subtext:

4 Ways to Amplify Your Characters’ Subtext

The magic ingredient in fiction is subtext. In part, it is magic because of the dynamic reaction it creates in readers: their sudden ability to become an intelligent participant in interpreting the story. But also, it is magic because, like any good trick, it can be difficult for authors to interpret exactly how to execute it. Nowhere […]

Why Doubt Is the Key to Flat Character Arcs

Flat Character Arcs create some of the most exciting and powerful stories. Most of the time, when people think of “character arc,” they’re likely to think of Positive Change Arcs, in which the protagonist himself undergoes an empowering personal change. Flat Arcs, by contrast, are about a protagonist who does not personally change, but who […]