What do you do when ideas come so fast they gum up the works, and the engine of your creativity grinds to a halt?
Maybe the problem isn’t where you are writing, but when…
Here are some ideas to help you get the ideas flowing…
Inspiration can be hard to find. Here are a couple of tips for freeing up frozen creative gears and busting mental log jams.
Here’s a technique for making your Muse think that being productive is her idea…
Every story has a personality that is greater than the sum of its parts. Learn how to ensure all its facets are working together.
Here’s one way to sneak around writer’s block when it isn’t looking…
How to supercharge the power of your storytelling by tapping into the seething cauldron of creativity just below the surface of your civilized veneer.
Here are four tips to help you develop your novel and improve the power of your storytelling.
Genre isn’t a list of requirements nor a box that limits your creative options. Find out how to create a story that honors your genre yet is uniquely its own style.
Just starting out? This list of practical tips will help you get your novel written.
Creating a riveting plot requires putting one story point in front of another…
No one reads a book because it has a great structure. So how do you find the right balance between structure and passion? This article will show you the way…
Remember blowing bubbles with that solution in the little bottles and the plastic wand?
The craft of writing is a bit like blowing bubbles, and this article will show you how to apply that perspective to help create the moments that comprise your story.
This article will show you how to make your story more personal by putting your readers into your characters’ shoes.’
Before you write your first chapter, ponder your opening sentence, or jot down a single word, there’s one step you should always do first, no matter your genre or style.
It is the Eternal Struggle for writers: how to freely express one’s passions within the constraints of story structure. Here are a few tips for gaining the upper hand…
Genre isn’t a box you write in nor a list of stylistic requirements for your story. It is the personality of your story, and in this article you’ll learn how to grow your genre act by act.
Character have two jobs: First, they should fulfill a dramatic function in your story. Second, they need to have real personalities so your readers or audience can connect to them at a passionate level. So how can you create such creatures? Here’s one way…
Whether your characters change through a leap of faith or overcome all pressures to hold onto their beliefs, their path to that moment of choice isn’t a straight one…
Building characters that are intriguing, unusual, and memorable is a difficult task. Here are a few of my best tricks for creating characters from scratch and for developing characters you’ve already created. Read the complete article…
If you are a plot-oriented writer, here is a nifty technique from shaking a whole cast of characters out of the events that drive your story.
Perhaps your hero isn’t the right guy for the job. Find out how to hold job interviews with your other characters to see if they should take over the position.
Even when a story has memorable characters, a riveting plot and a fully developed genre, it may still be coming apart at the themes. In this article, we’ll find out how to recognize this problem, and what to do about it.
Eisenhower said, “Planning is vital; plans are useless.” Seeing the structure of your story as a military campaign can help you ensure that all the moving parts work together toward a common goal.
Writers tend to create characters the same age as themselves and also have characters of other ages behave as if they were that same age. Here’s how to write characters who truly act their age…
Why do characters make excuses, and how can you write them so they come off as real people when they do?
Rather than looking at what your story needs, turn it around to discover what you need to write that story. When you do, all manner of barriers to your creativity are removed. Read the article for complete details of this technique.
Creating a log line centers your story, provides it with an identity, and ensures that all your story development work will be guided by this beacon so your story becomes sharply focused and every element is clearly connected to the hub.
In this article you’ll discover a technique for drawing characters out of a one-sentence description of your story called a log line.
As your story draws to a conclusion, your reader have become heavily invested in your characters. So you’ll need to help them disentangle from those relationships before your story ends.
One of the most powerful opportunities of the novel format is the ability to describe what a character is thinking. Learn how to transport your readers inside a character’s mind.
A story must conform to the conventions of story structure, but a novel does not need to be so rigid…
This technique will help you stand in your characters’ shoes and see the world through their eyes.
Stories can be written about characters who change or about characters who don’t. That’s the first part of your message. The second part is what happens to the character in the end as a result of their choice to change or not.
It is often assumed that a protagonist is the hero of a story. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Are characters people or pawns? They are both, in fact, and your job as an author is to ensure your characters fulfill each of their roles.
Your antagonist opposes the goals of your protagonist. But who opposes the beliefs of your main character?
It is an easy trap to create tired character types that follow societal expectations. How can you break out of that mold? Here’s a sure-fire technique for busting up stereotypes to create truly fresh and fascinating characters.
Choosing names for your characters can be perfunctory or can provide your readers or audience with insight into your characters’ natures, add humor or surprise, or even at the very least break out of ordinary monikers into the realm of the unusual.
Apply this technique and you will expand your story quickly and easily into some fascinating new material.
There are four throughlines that must be explored in every story for it to feel to readers or audience that the underlying issues have been fully examined and the message completely supported.
Archetypes represent human qualities we all share, such as Reason, Emotion, Faith, Skepticism, Conscience, and Temptation. Stereotypes represent the different kinds of personalities we encounter in life.
Plot isn’t the order in which events are presented in a story, but the order in which they happened to the characters. How do you keep both in sync?
How many times have you thought of a story, “Nobody would do that!” or “C’mon, that doesn’t even make sense.” What engenders those comments is our innate sense of story structure. But what is it?
As writers, we all know that characters need drive or their actions will come across as unmotivated. But what is drive, and where does it come from?
Archetypal characters have a bad name. Many writers think such characters are two-dimensional stick figures that come off more like plot robots than real people. But the truth is that archetypes represent essential human qualities that need to be explored in every story.
Many writers focus on a Hero and a Villain as the primary characters in any story. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But as we are about to discover, there are so many other options for creative character construction.
What a character likes and dislikes takes the curse of its larger than life stature. To humanize your characters and bring them down to size, give them preferences rather than just points of view.
For characters to be both compelling and functional each must do two completely different jobs. In this article, you’ll help your characters learn the ropes.
Every writer knows a story needs a protagonist and an antagonist who battle over the goal, but equally important are the main and influence characters who battle over the message.
Your thematic argument is an emotional one, not one of reason. You need to sway your reader/audience to adopt your moral view as an author rather than telling them to adopt it.
To come off as real people, Characters must share the same conundrums we all do. And chief among these is determining what’s really going on so that we are able to make sound decisions.
Success and Failure don’t have to be binary choices; they can be matters of degree. But a story without a clear indication of success or failure is a failure with your readers or audience.
Writer-Actors prefer to stand in the shoes of their characters and play the roles as they write. Writer-Directors stand outside the story and manipulate their characters to the best effect. In this article you’ll learn how to use each approach to the best advantage.
Do stories have a structure? And even if they do, is there really any way to figure out what it is? Based solely on the number of competing theories, one might suspect that either stories don’t have structures or that even those who spend their entire lives trying to figure it out, can’t!
Drudge people. You see them every day. On the news. In your town. Outside your window. Perhaps, even in your own home…
Many writers are held back because they feel constrained by perceived limitations as to how they can express their story. In this article, you’ll learn how to break those bonds and unshackle your Muse!
In storytelling, we can add surprise to a story by leading the reader or audience to perceive something one way, than shift the context to show that it is really quite different.
Most arguments are not caused by conflicting points of view but by misinterpretation of the other person’s point of view.
When creating your Protagonist, don’t let him or her get bogged down with all kinds of additional dramatic jobs that may not be necessary for your particular story.
The Antagonist and the Influence Character do two different essential things, but both of those jobs can be given to the same person in your story if you play it right.
There may be a place waiting for the story you have to tell.
Perhaps the most fundamental error made by authors, whether novice or experienced, is that their characters, both male and female, tend to reflect the gender of the author.
First impressions have a tremendous impact that you can use either to establish or mislead your reader/audience as to the true nature of each character.
Your characters aren’t going to be thinking about the plot the way you do. They can’t even see that there is a plot. Rather, they see their situation and have attitudes and feelings about it – some modest and some passionate.
How can you go about making your thematic point to your readers or audience without moralizing?
You’re only as good as your own talent. Get over it!
A tale is a statement; a story is an argument. Learn how to make the best case for your story’s message without missing any beats.
Interesting notions and moments happen every day, but are easily forgotten. By keeping a log of these as they happen, you can pepper them into your story to amp up its energy.
Apply this technique and you will expand that area of your story quickly and easily into some fascinating new material.
This technique will help you stand in your characters’ shoes and see the world through their eyes.
If you know how to tap into it, your subconscious mind can infuse your story with more depth and meaning than you are consciously aware.
An overview of the technique I personally use to put my head in a good place as I develop my own stories.
Yes, writing is work. Although sometimes in the thrill of inspiration the process can be an amusement park of experiences, more often it is frustration, drudgery and stress. But what to do….
Why psychotherapy takes twenty years for us to arrive at the point a Main Character can reach in a two-hour movie or a two hundred-page book.
Sometimes the characters in your story are not after the same goal, but the same kind of goal.
From each piece, your story’s world can grow. Use this technique to add breadth, depth, and richness to your story.
How to pull individual dramatic threads into the tapestry of your story.
We’ve all heard of the hero’s journey that focuses on what stories need to be complete. But consider that it is equally important to explore what authors need to complete stories.
While a protagonist is essential as the driver of the quest for your goal, the passion and message of your story revolves around your main character.
In the real world of story development, perfect structure is a myth. Trying to make a story structure perfect will drain the life out of it.
It starts with a single compromise to oneself – doing a job you hate in order to achieve something you want or putting your own art on hold to pay the bills. Find out how to rediscover your creative self.
There are four fundamental kinds of story cores, though each has endless variations.