plot-driven vs. character-driven

Tangents and Subplots: When Do They Work?

August 25, 2015 Writing Stuff
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My Elements of a Scene Checklist helps us identify whether a scene is truly necessary and contributing to our story by making sure it fulfills a story purpose. The same judgment criteria can apply to subplots as well. Let’s take a look at how can we make sure our tangents and subplots are adding to the story and not acting as a distraction.

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Revising without Tears — Guest: Rachel Funk Heller

June 30, 2015 Writing Stuff
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If you’re anything like me, you might have a love/hate relationship with revisions. I love seeing my story strengthen and improve, but I hate the struggle. Today my guest poster is sharing a worksheet to help us find the important aspects of each scene so we can revise without tears.

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Character Psychology: 9 Common Errors — Guest: Kassandra Lamb

June 16, 2015 Writing Stuff
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If we don’t want to write characters who are too perfect, we have to layer in a few flaws. That means we might be writing characters who are “broken” in some way, and we don’t want to get the details wrong. Luckily, I know just who can help us get this right.

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Story Climax: Forcing Characters to Move Forward

April 30, 2015 Writing Stuff
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Whatever happens in the Climax is often the reason we decided to write the story back when it was just a twinkle in our muse’s eye. But just before the beat of the Climax, our character experienced the Black Moment/Crisis, where they gave up. How do we get them to recommit to the story goals?

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Ask Jami: Can We Use Beat Sheets with Multiple POVs?

April 7, 2015 Writing Stuff
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Stories with multiple major characters—with their own point-of-view (POV) scenes—can make story structure complicated. Do we have to make beat sheets for each character? As a romance author, I write with multiple POVs all the time, so let’s see if we can figure out how to make beat sheets work in those situations.

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Using Examples to Learn Beat Sheets

March 17, 2015 Writing Stuff
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One technique for drafting or editing our stories into shape is using beat sheets, but it can be tricky to understand how to use them. Here’s a round-up beat sheet and story structure resources that might help us understand beat sheets.

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Should Our Protagonist Be in the First Scene?

February 17, 2015 Writing Stuff
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Most stories open with the protagonist on page one, but every once in a while, our story seems to work best if we start with another character. If we understand why the protagonist usually works best as the point-of-view character for the first page, we might be able to remake those exceptions into stronger openings.

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How to Create Characters Worth Reading

January 27, 2015 Writing Stuff
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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.

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How to Use Needs and Goals to Appeal to Readers

January 15, 2015 Writing Stuff
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When we first start learning about writing, we’re often faced with a whole new language. Words like “beats,” “tension,” and “conflict” take on new meaning within the writing world. Such it is with the words “needs” and “goals.” Once we enter the writing world, those words become infused with extra meanings related to plots and character arcs.

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What Creates a Story’s Theme?

December 18, 2014 Writing Stuff
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Many stories that stick with us over time resonate with some aspect of our life, belief, or worldview. Often, the theme of the story creates that resonance. If we understand what creates a story’s theme, we might be able to improve the resonance of our stories.

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