Author Archives: Melanie Anne Phillips

Protagonist & Antagonist – Who ARE These Guys?

The protagonist and antagonist may not be who you think they are.  For one thing, a protagonist is not necessarily the hero of a story.  Structurally speaking, the protagonist is the one who shakes up the status quo – that’s … Continue reading

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Change is Good (or maybe bad)

At the core of a story’s message is a very simple issue – whether the author is telling us it is better to be like the main character or not.  This is usually thought of as the moral of the story and … Continue reading

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Use a Log Line to Clarify Your Story Before You Write

Having a core concept for your story before you write will provide you with a creative beacon – a lighthouse by which to guide your creative efforts so they stay on course to your ultimate purpose: a completed novel. While … Continue reading

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Get Into Your Characters’ Heads

One of the most powerful opportunities of the novel format is the ability to describe what a character is thinking. In movies or stage plays (with exceptions) you must show what the character is thinking through action and/or dialog. But … Continue reading

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Letting Go of Characters

Over the course of the story, your reader/audience has come to know your characters and to feel for them. The story doesn’t end when your characters and their relationships reach a climax. Rather, the reader/audience will want to know the … Continue reading

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Excuses, Excuses….

When a child comes up with a false reason for some small transgression, we know he is just making an excuse to avoid punishment or to side-step a negative emotional response. Adults continue to make excuses; they just do it … Continue reading

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Characters: The Attributes of Age

Some writers tend to create characters that are more or less the same age as themselves. Other writers populate their stories with characters of all ages but have them all act as if they are the same age as the … Continue reading

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The Hero Breaks Down

Groucho Marx once said, “You’re headed for a nervous breakdown. Why don’t you pull yourself to pieces?” That, in fact, is what we’re going to do to our hero. Now many writers focus on a Hero and a Villain as … Continue reading

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Coming Apart at the Themes

Even when a story has memorable characters, a riveting plot and a fully developed genre, it may still be coming apart at the themes. Theme is perhaps the most powerful, yet least understood element of story structure. It is powerful … Continue reading

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What Is Dramatica?

What is Dramatica? Dramatica is a theory of story that offers both writers and critics a clear view of what story structure is and how it works. Dramatica is also the inspiration behind the line of story development software products … Continue reading

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