strong characters

Plot Obstacles & Character Agency

May 17, 2016 Writing Stuff
Thumbnail image for Plot Obstacles & Character Agency

Ashley asked a question in the comments last week that gets at the heart of strong, proactive characters. Even in literary fiction, characters are usually faced with making choices, and whatever triggers those choices is where we’ll find plot and character agency.

Pin It
Click here to read more

Plot Obstacles: Too Easy, Too Difficult, or Just Right?

May 12, 2016 Writing Stuff
Thumbnail image for Plot Obstacles: Too Easy, Too Difficult, or Just Right?

Our characters have to overcome many problems throughout our plot, but changing the obstacles doesn’t always fix story problems. Sure, sometimes an obstacle doesn’t fit the story, but too often, the obstacle itself isn’t broken—but the storytelling around the obstacle.

Pin It
Click here to read more

What’s the Difference between Plot and Story?

May 3, 2016 Writing Stuff
Thumbnail image for What’s the Difference between Plot and Story?

When we first start off as writers, if someone asks us about our story, we might launch into an overview of our story’s plot. It’s easy to think the plot is what our story is about. But with few exceptions, story isn’t the same as plot.

Pin It
Click here to read more

What Goes into Building a Movie in Our Mind?

April 28, 2016 Writing Stuff
Thumbnail image for What Goes into Building a Movie in Our Mind?

Sometimes as authors, we struggle to create a well-rounded world or characters that feel so real to readers that they experience a movie in their mind. Stories that feel like we can crawl in and inhabit them are often lauded as special, but why is it so hard to succeed in that goal?

Pin It
Click here to read more

Subtext: Creating Layered Characters

April 21, 2016 Writing Stuff
Thumbnail image for Subtext: Creating Layered Characters

I’ve written many times about how much I love subtext, the stuff that happens between the lines. Subtext lurks in many aspects of our stories and helps immerse readers and add realism and tension. In addition, subtext can help us build layered characters.

Pin It
Click here to read more

Story Conflict: Villains vs. Antagonists

March 1, 2016 Writing Stuff
Thumbnail image for Story Conflict: Villains vs. Antagonists

Conflict is one of those words we all think we understand, but the writing-world meaning doesn’t have the same connotation as the non-writing meaning. Yet it’s only after understanding conflict that we’ll see the difference between antagonists and villains in storytelling.

Pin It
Click here to read more

What Are Our Readers’ “Must Click” Topics?

December 8, 2015 Writing Stuff
Thumbnail image for What Are Our Readers’ “Must Click” Topics?

We’ve probably all come across “click bait” headlines that create a compulsion to click, but another click-worthy aspect of any content is simply the topic itself. For blog posts or books, learning what topics appeal to our readers can help us develop content.

Pin It
Click here to read more

Using Grammar to Strengthen Our Voice — Guest: Julie Glover

November 24, 2015 Writing Stuff
Thumbnail image for Using Grammar to Strengthen Our Voice — Guest: Julie Glover

Many of us start down the writing path without knowing the grammar rules. However, it’s best to know the rules before deciding to break them, especially as the proper use (and abuse) of grammar rules can strengthen our voice. Today’s guest post from Julie Glover shows how grammar can make a difference.

Pin It
Click here to read more

5 Common Myths about Emotions — Guest: Kassandra Lamb

November 10, 2015 Writing Stuff
Thumbnail image for 5 Common Myths about Emotions — Guest: Kassandra Lamb

We all have emotions, so we all think we know how to write them. However, sometimes the best writing comes from exposing an emotional truth that we’re hiding from ourselves. So the better we understand emotions, the better our stories will resonate with our readers.

Pin It
Click here to read more

Internal Dialogue: The Secret Sauce to Fixing Problems? — Guest: Marcy Kennedy

August 27, 2015 Writing Stuff
Thumbnail image for Internal Dialogue: The Secret Sauce to Fixing Problems? — Guest: Marcy Kennedy

Internal dialogue is rarely discussed but can be the key to a great story. The skillful use of internal dialogue reveals a story’s emotions, characterizations, motivations, and overall arc. Internal dialogue provides context for everything our characters experience, which helps our readers know what the story means to our characters.

Pin It
Click here to read more