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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.

Are You Ready for NaNoWriMo?

Open organizer with text: Getting Organized for Nano

It’s almost time for NaNoWriMo, and if you’re anything like me, you might be freaking out a little as November nears. So here are several quick links to posts helping us plan, start, and get unstuck with our story.

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October 25, 2016

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Character Arc Development: Is There a Best Approach?

Person's shadow on the beach with text: Developing a Character's Arc

There are almost an infinite number of ways we can develop our story. As long as we end up with a finished book, our process works. And just like the variety found in the overall writing processes we might use, we have many options for how to come up with our protagonist’s arc as well.

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August 18, 2016

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Stuck on Plot? Start at the End — Guest: Janice Hardy

Dead End street sign with text: How to Avoid a... (Dead End)

Today, Janice Hardy shares her tip for getting unstuck with our plot. Whether we’re plotters or pantsers, working backward from the end can help us figure out our story’s plot. Sometimes we need to shake up how we do things to get the creative juices flowing again, and working backward can be the key we need.

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August 9, 2016

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Using Ebooks to Understand Story Structure

Roof structure with text: Ebooks: a Shortcut to Story Structure

If we’ve ever had a friend ramble or go off on tangents when describing a movie, we understand how story structure can help make stories more enjoyable. In other words, good story structure is an important element of good storytelling. Here’s how we can learn to analyze the structure of stories…

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February 11, 2016

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Happy New Year! Let’s Talk (Story) Beginnings

Book open to Chapter 1 with text: 3 Steps to Our Story's Beginning

We’re almost to the new year, so let’s take those thoughts of new beginnings over to our stories. Most writers have probably struggled with a story’s opening, but if we start from the big picture and move to the specific, we might have an easier time finding the right beginning for our story.

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December 31, 2015

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Merry Christmas! A Gift for You…

Christmas ornaments with text: A Gift for You! A New Worksheet

I interrupted my Christmas to-do list to put together a worksheet based on the Essential Elements list I covered in my last post. If you’ve ever wondered if a completed story had good “bones,” hopefully this worksheet will help.

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December 24, 2015

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Does Our Story Have Everything It Needs?

Classroom skeleton with text: Does Our Story Have Good Bones?

After completing a story, we might face the question of whether to put in the effort to revise it. If we decide our story has enough promise, what should we do next? Does our story contain all the essential elements? Does it have the bones of a good story?

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December 22, 2015

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Ask Jami: Why Isn’t There One Right Way to Write?

Pen on a notebook with text: Why Isn't There a Right Way to Write?

When we’re young, the world feels like it’s made up of wrong answers and right answers. Not surprisingly, writing is one of those areas of our life where “one right way” doesn’t apply, and there are several reasons why there’s no definitive “right” way to write a book.

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December 15, 2015

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