Category Archives: Story Development

A Story’s Four Essential Throughlines

Imagine a story’s structure as a war and the Main Character as a soldier making his way across the field of battle. Suddenly, through the smoke of dramatic explosions he spies a murky figure standing right in his path. In … Continue reading

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How to Structure Your Story’s Signposts

First let me define what signposts are in stories and then provide a few hints on how to structure them. Signposts are the markers that separate one act from another.  Think about any well structured story you’ve read or seen … Continue reading

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A Tip for Writing Trilogies

Here’s a quick look at one aspect of fashioning a trilogy: whether each individual installment is a tale or a story. A tale is a linear progression that both makes sense logically, step by step, and also makes sense emotionally, … Continue reading

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4 Writing Tips for Novelists

1. Novels Aren’t Stories A novel can be extremely free form. Some are simply narratives about a fictional experience. Others are a collection of several stories that may or may not be intertwined. Jerzy N. Kosinski (the author of “Being … Continue reading

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How Can You Teach Writing When You Speak In Jargon?

I recently received the following note as a response to the writing tips newsletter I publish: How do you think you going to learn how to be a teacher when you talk in jargon? What is structure? What is a protagonist? … Continue reading

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Story Analysis and Structure Creation in Dramatica Software (video)

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Know Your Story Points – Main Character “Approach”

This article is excerpted from Dramatica Story Structuring Software. Some of the characters you create as an author will be Do-ers who try to accomplish their purposes through activities (by doing things). Other characters are Be-ers who try to accomplish … Continue reading

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Elements of Structure or Art of Storytelling?

By Melanie Anne Phillips Way back in the early 1990s, my writing partner, Chris Huntley, and I published a book on narrative structure entitled, Dramatica: A New Theory of Story. It begins: “Part of what makes a story great is its … Continue reading

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What Happens in Acts One, Two, and Three?

By Melanie Anne Phillips Here’s a good general template for beginning writers that outlines some of the key events and activities that are best addressed in each of your three acts. ACT ONE Act one is about the Set Up. … Continue reading

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Structure vs. Passion

No one reads a book or goes to a movie to enjoy a good structure. No author writes because he is driven to create a sound structure. Audiences and authors come to opposite sides of a story because of their … Continue reading

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