The Two Halves of the Climactic Moment

The Climactic Moment is the story in microcosm. The Climactic Moment is where the protagonist’s final relationship to the plot goal is determined by definitive success or failure, as is the character’s relationship to the thematic Lie and Truth. Although the events of the Climactic Moment might not be the “biggest” of the story, they […]

3 Things to Know About the Ending of a Story

There are three parts of a story that are difficult to write: the beginning, the middle, and the ending. (I was going to start the article by referencing the ending of a story as one of the hardest parts, but then I realized… it’s all hard. Ahem.) Each has its own special set of challenges, […]

5 Questions About How to Balance Multiple POVs in Your Story

The opportunities and pitfalls offered by multiple POVs are both the joy and the bane of the writer’s life. On the one hand, using multiple points of view to tell a story seems like it makes the job so much easier. No limits—woohoo! But on the other hand, once you start trying to juggle multiple […]

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5 Ways to Earn Your Audience’s Loyalty

Part 22 of The Do’s and Don’ts of Storytelling According to Marvel There’s little in this cosmos that writers want more than our readers’ love and respect. We want them to buy our stories, love our stories, tell their friends about our stories, buy more stories, support us in style for the rest of our lives, […]

7 Ways to Write Thematically-Pertinent Antagonists

Thematically-pertinent antagonists are the lynchpin that holds together any successful story. You can write delicious protagonists, snappy dialogue, riveting conflict, and deep themes—and still, your story can fail simply because the antagonist was taken for granted as a leering, two-dimensional bad guy. We’ve talked before about how (somewhat non-intuitively) the character who provides the entire foundation for […]

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How (Not) to Write Satisfying Action Scenes

Part 2 of The Do’s and Don’ts of Storytelling According to Marvel Imagine this. You sit down to write the biggest action scenes in your entire story. They’re gonna be epic. Giants will collide. Empires will topple. The conflict will be definitively decided once and for all–and readers will be glued to the page. This is, no doubt, exactly what the folks […]

Most Common Mistakes Series, Pt. 47

Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 46: Anticlimactic Endings

Here’s how to write books readers will love–and yet still end up hating you for. It’s easy. All you have to do is divebomb out of your brilliance and into anticlimactic endings. On some level, anticlimactic endings are pretty self-explanatory. They’re endings with no bang in the end. They’re endings that evoke a yawn from readers instead […]

2 Ways to Make the Most of Your Story’s Climactic Setting

This week’s video points out some little-known considerations about creating an awesome and perfectly planned climactic setting for your story. Video Transcript: If we think of a story as sort of like a funnel, then the climax is the very tip of that funnel. In short, there’s not much room down there. Whatever is going […]

Amping Your Story Stakes: Why Even Positive Events Should Have Consequences

This week’s video offers another example from Jurassic Park for an easy way to instantly inject more continuity and tension in your story stakes. Video Transcript: Good fiction is about consequences. Something happens which causes something else to happen, which keeps the cause-and-effect ball rolling. If the cause has no effect, then the story peters […]

If You Don’t Fix This Mistake in Your Story's Climax, You’ll Hate Yourself Later

If You Don’t Fix This Mistake in Your Story’s Climax, You’ll Hate Yourself Later

The Climax has got to be the best part of your story, right? It’s the maraschino cherry on top of the sundae (that is, of course, if you’re the kind who saves the cherry to eat last). Anyway—the point is you want your story’s Climax to be gripping. You want it to be suspenseful. You […]