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Planning Your Story

Story planning tips and advice. Sample topics: using beat sheets, developing arcs, techniques for those who write by the seat of their pants, deciding on story ideas, etc.

How to Revise for Structure, Part Two

Cover image of Larry Brooks's Story Engineering

Last time, we discussed Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat craft book and how we can use his writing tools to revise our work.  His beat sheet points out when story events (beats) should occur in a screenplay, and most of his advice applies to all forms of fiction writing. Whether we dig into […]

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February 14, 2012

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How to Use the “Save the Cat” Beat Sheet for Revisions

Cover image of Blake Snyder's "Save the Cat"

Before I start, thank you to everyone who commented, tweeted, and emailed me with support after my last post about losing my cat.  You all have filled me with virtual hugs and put a smile on my face.  Thank you.  *hugs back* In fact, after writing that post and reading […]

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February 9, 2012

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Where Do You Get Your Ideas?

Dragon fruit

Artists of every type find inspiration all around them, and writers are no exception.  Ideas might come in the form of a dream, a “what if” question, an overheard conversation, etc. Those are all fairly normal sources of inspiration.  Personally, I’ve been inspired by dreams, “what if”s, an 80’s music […]

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September 15, 2011

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When Is a Story Worth Writing? – Part Three

Thumbs up

If we don’t want to waste time writing a story that will never get anywhere, we have to make sure we’ll be able to complete it.  And guess what?  It’s not completed when we, as writers, think it is.  Going from seed idea to completion happens over two stages. So […]

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January 25, 2011

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When Is a Story Worth Writing? – Part Two

Green eggs and ham

Writers are often overwhelmed with story ideas.  When I’m in the middle of difficult revisions, it’s normal for me to think of several other shiny ideas that I would much rather work on instead of doing yet another round of edits.  But not every idea is worthy of a story, […]

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January 20, 2011

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When Is a Story Worth Writing? – Part One

Tree growing from book

Every story begins with an idea.  Sometimes this idea comes to authors out of the blue.  Sometimes a dream provides the spark.  Sometimes “people watching” or an overheard conversation will trigger the thought.  But no matter where it comes from, the idea kicks off everything else, like a seed from which […]

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January 18, 2011

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