5 Questions About Scene Sequences

In many ways story structure is a fractal pattern. The same patterns we find on the macro level of the entire story arc also repeat themselves, within an ever-tightening spiral, from scene structure all the way down to sentence structure. Somewhere in between story and scene, we find scene sequences. Within the story’s larger narrative, […]

interesting scenes header

How to Write Interesting Scenes

Here’s a secret about storytelling that many writers overlook. An interesting plot isn’t what makes an interesting story. Interesting characters aren’t what make an interesting story either. In reality, a story is only as interesting as its scenes. That sounds almost too obvious to think about. Honestly, I hadn’t thought about it too specifically myself […]

7 Frequently Asked Writing Questions

7 Frequently Asked Writing Questions

The amazing thing about being a writer is that you get to be part of a writing community. Especially now, in the Internet age, you have access not just to the writings of the great minds who have gone before, but also to the shared wisdom, common sense, commiseration, and encouragement of all your contemporaries. If […]

How to Calculate Your Book's Length Before Writing

How to Calculate Your Book’s Length Before Writing

Story structure is all about timing. It’s about making sure your rhythm and pacing align for maximum impact, both in keeping readers glued to the page and in resonating emotionally. The reason this timing works is that it is largely instinctive, for both writers and readers. When I first started learning about story structure, I pulled […]

2 Ways To Make Sure You've Chosen the Right Scene

2 Ways to Choose the Right Scene

Today, I’m guest posting over on Jerry Jenkins’s site, with the post “Does This Scene Deserve a Place in Your Story? 2 Ways to Find Out.” Here’s an excerpt: “Cut this scene. It doesn’t move the plot.” That is my most frequent comment on manuscripts I edit for others. It causes most writers to groan. […]

An Easy Way To Notch Up Your Scene Conflict

An Easy Way to Notch Up Your Scene Conflict

Scene conflict is what keeps your story running, chapter after chapter, page after page. Conflict is the heart of each scene, and each of those scenes is one of the dozens of tiny engines keeping your plot moving forward—and your readers glued to the page. It’s helpful to think of scene conflict as not so much […]

How To Troubleshoot and Repair Any Scene

8 Ways to Troubleshoot a Scene–and 5 Ways Make It Fabulous

So there I was: sitting at my desk, notebook in front of me—and absolutely no words staring back at me. The problem? I knew what needed to happen in this scene, but now that the time had come to write it, it seemed flat as a roadkill raccoon. It was clearly time to troubleshoot a […]

How to Write a Story Without a Plot (and Why You Shouldn't)

How to Write a Story Without a Plot (and Why You Shouldn’t)

Can you write a story without a plot? Ultimately, that depends entirely on your definition of a story. There are quite a few people who would argue for plot-less variations, but I’m not one of them. When I talk about story, I’m talking about plot. Why? Because it’s the most intuitive entry point to a […]

Top 3 Ways to Rivet Readers with Plot Twists

Top 10 Ways to Rivet Readers with Plot Reveals

Today, I’m going to show you how to make stuff happen in your story. Duh, right? What could be easier? You put characters on the page, they dance around, stuff happens. Mission accomplished. Except if you’re not using plot reveals to execute all this happenin’ stuff, your readers may end up bored anyway. What are plot reveals? […]

A New Way To Structure Your Story's Scenes

A New Way to Think About Scene Structure

Stories live and die on their scene structure. A great plot—even a well-structured great plot—won’t be able to stand if its individual scenes are floundering with no clear sense of purpose and direction in the overall story. Dwight V. Swain engineered the classic approach to scene structure, which breaks down each scene into integers of […]