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Tip-heavy posts about writing skills and concepts that improve our stories. Sample topics: how to create a strong character, storytelling skills, information dumps, using point of view, subtext, using themes, building scenes, etc.

Story Climax: The Whole Point — Guest: Victoria Mixon

Picture of Victoria Mixon

I’m excited to share today’s guest post by editor A. Victoria Mixon with everyone.  Her new book The Art & Craft of Story: 2nd Practitioner’s Manual recently came out and is a great addition to our writing craft library. In fact, her blog tour posts have been excerpts from this […]

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November 15, 2011

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What Makes a Story Feel Unrealistic?

Sepia-toned drawing of nighttime on fantasy planet with large moon and hot air balloons

With fiction, a fine line exists between stories we can relate to (no matter how fantastical the setting, characters, or plot) and those we can’t. We’ve all heard the phrase “suspension of disbelief” in relation to movies and books to explain how we accept the impossible. Every genre has different […]

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November 10, 2011

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What Drives a Story: Plot or Characters?

Dog sled in the snow

Wish me luck.  I’m about to dive into one of the eternal debates among writers.  Which is “better”: a plot-driven story or a character-driven story? If you’re not familiar with the debate, let me explain why this question is so fraught with potential landmines.  A common snub against genre stories […]

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July 26, 2011

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The Green Lantern Movie: How *Not* to Write Characters

Hal Jordan with Green Lantern ring

Last time, I used the Green Lantern movie to illustrate how not to plot a story.  This time, we’re going to look at the Green Lantern characters. As noted before, Green Lantern felt superficial and formulaic.  Sure, it’d be easy to say that it was a comic book movie and therefore […]

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July 7, 2011

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The Green Lantern Movie: How *Not* to Plot a Story

Green Lantern Movie image

I recently saw the Green Lantern movie.  I know, I know.  The reviews were terrible, but I often enjoy turn-brain-off movies.  This fun-but-dumb superhero action flick definitely fit the bill. But the real entertainment came after the movie, as my family and I analyzed why this superhero movie failed compared to other […]

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July 5, 2011

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How to Find Writer Resources – Guest: Elizabeth Spann Craig

Elizabeth S. Craig photo

If you’re a writer and on Twitter, you should know about the incomparable Elizabeth S. Craig.  She shares fantastic resources for writers that she finds all over the web, like a one-woman news source. More importantly, if you’re a writer—whether you’re on Twitter or not—you should know about her Writer’s […]

June 23, 2011

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What Makes a Character Unlikable?

Frowning

Believe it or not, I sometimes actually follow my own advice.  *smile*  Recently, I helped score a few contest entries, just like I recommend in my post about why all writers should volunteer to judge contests. One of the entries was—I’m afraid there’s no nice way to say this—dreadful.  The […]

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June 21, 2011

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Do Stories Need a Theme?

Disney's California Adventure theme park

Earlier this week, Julie Musil had a great post about how to create story endings that resonate.  I almost wrote an epic comment to her post, but decided to save my wordiness for here.  And I get to use one of my vacation pictures—Disney’s California Adventure theme park, get it? […]

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May 26, 2011

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What Disneyland Can Teach Us about World-building

Puzzle of globe

First, I want to thank J.A. Paul and Rachel Firasek for their guest posts.  I had fun with their interviews and I hope you all did too. Yes, I’m back from a fun, exhausting trip to Disneyland.  And yes, my vacation inspired a blog post.  You’re not surprised, are you? […]

May 17, 2011

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Make Your Antagonist a Force for Good

Sinister man

Wait…what? Well, we want to make our antagonist good for our story anyway.  *smile* Kristen Lamb has been running a fantastic series on antagonists (Part One, Part Two, Villains, Balancing Evil, Inner and Outer Demons).  She shares more gems than I can capture here, so definitely check out her posts. For […]

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May 5, 2011

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