antagonist

How to Place Turning Points on a Beat Sheet

February 5, 2015 Writing Stuff
Thumbnail image for How to Place Turning Points on a Beat Sheet

Is a Catalyst the same thing as an Inciting Incident? (Answer: Yes.) How do I know? It’s not because there’s a secret cheat sheet with translations for every beat sheet term. *smile* If we know the functions beats fulfill in a story, we’ll always know where a story event belongs on a beat sheet.

Pin It
Click here to read more

How to Create Characters Worth Reading

January 27, 2015 Writing Stuff
Thumbnail image for How to Create Characters Worth Reading

There’s no shortage of blog posts about what makes characters likable to readers. Yet readers still read and enjoy stories with unlikable characters. Why? Let’s take a look at what options we have for creating characters that compel readers to keep turning pages.

Pin It
Click here to read more

Balancing Conflict in Romance Stories

January 22, 2015 Writing Stuff
Thumbnail image for Balancing Conflict in Romance Stories

One of my commenters asked a great question last week that gets to the heart of the balancing game we have to play when writing romance. The characters have to be perfect enough for each other to make a believable couple, but there also has to be enough conflict between them to sustain a story.

Pin It
Click here to read more

What Makes a Story’s Black Moment a Black Moment?

December 16, 2014 Writing Stuff
Thumbnail image for What Makes a Story’s Black Moment a Black Moment?

The Black Moment is usually one of the most emotional sections of the story, so it can be difficult to pull together. If we read stories (or watch movies), we’ve seen this beat play out endless times, so we probably understand the plot point more than we may think. But let’s take a closer look and see if we can learn something new.

Pin It
Click here to read more

Why No Advice Is Perfect: Character Emotions

September 30, 2014 Writing Stuff
Thumbnail image for Why No Advice Is Perfect: Character Emotions

There’s never going to be a ‘one size fits all’ guideline for any aspect of writing. Every story is different, so some advice doesn’t apply to us. What’s right for one genre might not be right for another genre. Ditto for the point of view of the story. Or the characters. Or the plot.

Pin It
Click here to read more

Blogiversary Winners & a New Worksheet!

July 10, 2014 Writing Stuff
Thumbnail image for Blogiversary Winners & a New Worksheet!

I can’t make everyone a winner in my Blogiversary contest, but I can give everyone a gift by releasing a new worksheet. Yay! A couple of my readers asked me to take a look a John Truby’s work and see if I could come up with a worksheet based on his teachings.

Pin It
Click here to read more

What’s the Perfect Job for Our Characters?

April 29, 2014 Writing Stuff
Thumbnail image for What’s the Perfect Job for Our Characters?

If we write our story well, every aspect of the story will contribute to the overall picture and create an impression for the reader. There aren’t any unimportant details in a well-written story. And that means the careers for our characters shouldn’t be an afterthought either.

Pin It
Click here to read more

Building a Theme through Character Arcs

April 3, 2014 Writing Stuff
Thumbnail image for Building a Theme through Character Arcs

We normally create stories where the point—the theme—is in line with our worldview. But it’s not unusual for our characters to hold opposite beliefs, even our protagonists. At least to start. And their story journey is often where our theme lies.

Pin It
Click here to read more

How to Make Turning Points Drive Arcs and Themes

February 11, 2014 Writing Stuff
Thumbnail image for How to Make Turning Points Drive Arcs and Themes

Last week, we looked at turning points from the perspective of beat sheets—how to identify them and ensure they’re changing the direction of the story enough to deserve their name. But turning points affect the story in other ways too. Turning points aren’t just about plot twists. (In fact, plot twists come with a warning.) […]

Pin It
Click here to read more

Using Conflict to Understand Our Characters

November 19, 2013 Writing Stuff
Thumbnail image for Using Conflict to Understand Our Characters

All stories need conflict. As agent Donald Maass says, we need tension on every page. But that doesn’t mean our characters should come to fisticuffs on a regular basis. Instead, conflict refers to whatever stands between our characters and what they want. Why does it take them 300 or so pages to reach their goals or […]

Pin It
Click here to read more