Don’t Know Your Story’s Theme? Take a Look at Your Character’s Arc

What separates a good story from a great one? We might throw out a lot of opinions, but mine is this: Your story’s theme is what will raise it above the pack, out of mere entertainment into something that sticks with readers, impacts their lives, and maybe even challenges them to grow. Awesomesauce!, you say. […]

5 Important Ways to Use Symbolism in Your Story

5 Important Ways to Use Symbolism in Your Story

Today, I’m guest posting over on Storyfix, with the post “5 Important Ways to Use Symbolism in Your Story.” Here’s an excerpt: Symbolism can sometimes be a tough concept for authors to get their heads around. How do we come up with the right symbols in the first place? What should they be symbolic of? And how do […]

maybe your bad guy is right

Maybe Your Bad Guy Is RIGHT!

How do you know if you’ve written a good bad guy? There are many possible qualifiers. He’s scary. He’s hatable. He’s a formidable obstacle to the protagonist’s goal. All of which are valid. But today what I’m talking about is the kind of bad guy who isn’t black and white. He’s solidly the hero of […]

Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 31: One-Dimensional Conflict

Conflict is one of the most essential ingredients of fiction. When a character with a goal meets an obstacle to that goal, conflict ensues. Story ensues. But one-dimensional conflict isn’t enough to plumb the depths of a story’s potential. So just what is one-dimensional conflict? When conflict is coming at the protagonist from just one direction, the […]

How to Send a Message in Your Story... Without Preaching

How to Send a Message in Your Story… Without Preaching

My guess is, if you’re a writer, you have something to say to people. There’s a message in your story. Maybe you want to tell them that life is beautiful, even in the darkest of circumstances. Or that war is pointless. Perhaps you think avocados are nasty and want more people to join you in […]

Sherlock Holmes vs. C. Auguste Dupin: 4 Ways to Improve Your Writing

Sherlock Homes rose and lit his pipe. “No doubt you think that you are complimenting me in comparing me to Dupin,” he observed. “Now, in my opinion, Dupin was a very inferior fellow.–A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Fighting words—within the detective genre, anyway. Yet  the term “detective” had not yet been coined when […]

crafting stunning character arcs: the lie your character believes

Creating Stunning Character Arcs, Pt. 2: The Lie Your Character Believes

People hate change. We may sit around and wish our lives were different, but when the rubber really starts streaking the tarmac, we usually find ourselves wishing we could just hang out here in our safe and familiar haunts. Characters are no different. They resist change just as staunchly as any of us—which is a […]

crafting stunning character arcs can you structure character

Creating Stunning Character Arcs, Pt. 1: Can You Structure Characters?

What if there were a sure-fire secret to creating stunning character arcs? Would you be interested in discovering it? If you care about connecting with readers, grabbing hold of their emotions, and creating stories that will resonate with them on a level deeper than mere entertainment, then the answer has to be a resounding yes! […]

How Minor Characters Help You Discover Theme

How Minor Characters Help You Discover Theme

Is theme the moral of a story? Is it the message an author wants to share? Or is it something more inherent to the plot itself? If this were a multiple-choice test, then I’d hope you would have chosen C. Although theme is potentially both a moral and a message, neither of these should be […]

How to Create Layers of Conflict That Are Thematically Pertinent

Today, I’m guest posting on Storyfix, with a post on “How to Create Layers of Thematically Pertinent Conflict.” Here’s an excerpt: On the surface, conflict is a ridiculously easy concept. Have character punch each other. Or yell at each other. Or even just give each other the silent treatment. Easy, right? To some extent, that’s true. […]