6 Questions to Help You Choose the Right POV

6 Questions to Help You Choose the Right POV

Stories are defined by their narrators. Narrating characters implicitly tell us whose story this is. More than that, they determine which facets of plot and theme will be emphasized. How do they do this?  By also determining which elements will be eliminated or sidelined. In short, figuring out how to choose the right POV for your […]

5 Ways to Use Myers-Briggs for Characters

5 Ways to Use Myers-Briggs for Characters

I must now put my foot in my mouth. Once upon a time, I rather publicly said a big fat “NO” to the idea of personality-typing, particularly when it came to using Myers-Briggs for characters. Some of you may even remember this gem from my book Outlining Your Novel: In general, I’m not a fan […]

How To Writing Meaningful Comedy

4 Ways to Write Meaningful Comedy

Notoriously, comedy is one of the most difficult forms of writing. This isn’t because it’s so hard to write a gag or a line that’s funny. Life’s a pretty hilarious place, after all. No, it’s difficult because translating goofiness into meaning is vastly more difficult. These days, we tend to think of comedy as fluff—silly people […]

How To Take Advantage of Your 4 Most Important Characters

How to Take Advantage of Your 4 Most Important Characters

Your story may or may not have a cast of a thousand, but even if it does, 996 of those characters are going to be primarily background. They provide the context for the four most important characters in a story. Who are these characters? 1. Your protagonist (of course). 2. The antagonist. 3. The reflection. 4. The […]

3 Ways to Choose the Right Protagonist

3 Ways to Choose the Right Protagonist

Ever had a minor character steal the show and run away with your story? This scenario has its good points and its bad points (usually, it means a great minor character and a problematic plot), and it always leads writers right back to the all-important question of how to choose the right protagonist from the get-go. […]

3 Ways to Test Your Story’s Emotional Stakes

Part 14 of The Do’s and Don’ts of Storytelling According to Marvel You can do almost everything right in a story, and it will not matter. Acing your story structure, constructing a solid thematic premise, and punching your card on every important character-arc beat will not matter—if you don’t also nail the emotional stakes. The craft of storytelling […]

Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 55

Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 57: Dead-End Relationships

Once upon a time there were two characters. They got along very well, cared for each other very much, always had good advice for one another, and always, always, always had each other’s back. The End. Oh yeah, and even though it’s hardly worth mentioning, there was also this subplot character, who once betrayed one […]

6 Bits of Common Writing Advice You're Misusing

6 Bits of Common Writing Advice You’re Misusing

Recently, I found myself reminiscing about some of the early books on writing advice that transformed and molded my understanding of storytelling and writing. They opened my eyes, honed my craft, and changed my life. I wouldn’t be the writer I am today without the solid writing advice I’ve received from the writers who have gone […]

Boba Fett’s Guide to Writing Cool Characters

Boba Fett is one of the most beloved scourges of the Star Wars universe. Yet, he says only 27 words (28 if you add the Wilhelm Scream), and is on screen for a mere 6 minutes and 32 seconds. He even gets defeated in a pathetic way by being knocked into the Sarlacc pit by […]

Deepen Your Story with Character Misdirection

Deepen Your Story With Character Misdirection

In childhood, stories are always about exactly what they appear: “See Spot. See Spot run.” But as we grow older and our life experiences deepen, so do our story experiences. What emerges is often a complex weave of subtext and misdirection. Life isn’t always as we perceive it on its surface—and even when it is, half the […]