Category Archives: Creative Writing

Need inspiration or a cure for writer’s block? You’ll find it here. This category focuses on the creative process from organizing your writing time to developing your ideas and finding your author’s voice.

Browse through the list or use the search box at the top of the page to find just what you are looking for, and may the Muse be with you!

Finding Your Story’s Core

Every story has a core – that concept at the center that pulls all of the story elements into a cohesive whole, establishes meaning and message, and provides the story with an overall identity.

There are four fundamental kinds of cores, though each has endless variations.

1. Situation stories that are all about a fixed situation people must grapple with, such as being stuck in an overturned ocean liner, locked in a high-rise building with terrorists, being handcuffed to a murder, being the only member of a group with a particular gender or race, having a physical deformity.

2. Mind stories that are all about fixed mind sets such as exploring or overcoming prejudice, belief in something that defies all evidence to the contrary, an unreasonable fear, a determination to accomplish something even if the reason for doing it has vanished.

3. Activity stories that are all about external efforts such as a trek through the jungle to obtain a lost treasure, the attempt to build the first self-aware artificial intelligence, a race across a continent in the 1800s, the effort to find a cure for a virulent new disease.

4. Psychology stores that are all about the thinking process, such as trying to come to terms with personal loss, grappling with issues of faith, overcoming addiction, growing to become a true leader, or manipulating someone.

Which of these four kinds of cores best describes what you want your story to be about and how you want it to feel?

By picking a core, you will have a central defining vision for your story that will keep it on track during development, and your completed story will come across with a powerful unified impact on your readers or audience.

This “core” concept is at the heart of our Dramatica story structuring software.

Melanie Anne Phillips
Creator, StoryWeaver
Co-creator, Dramatica

In Search of Your Writer’s Identity

Sweet potatoes are the best.  And they are best described in Ralph Ellison’s story of a black man coming to terms with his identity entitled “Invisible Man,” in which he has always avoided eating his favorite childhood food, hot buttered yams sold by street vendors, so he would not be stereotyped, as he now works in an office in a suit.  At the end of the book he finally accepts his true love of the food, stops by a vendor, puts down his briefcase and eats the wonderful sweet salty treat with abandon, proclaiming in his mind, “I yam what I yam.”

Personally, in 7th grade art class, we were given an assignment to bring in pictures to illustrate how to show distance.  One techniques was loss of detail.  I brought in a picture from Mad Magazine where a little boy had just cut off the tail of a cat with a pair of scissors and labelled it “Loss of De Tail.”  He looked at it for a moment and said, “You want to add this to the other examples in your portfolio?”  Man had no sense of humor.  He lost it by living a life as someone he wasn’t.

In each of the two narratives above, one fictional and one a true story, two different people for completely different reasons had stepped away from who they really were to fashion lives that didn’t reflect them at all.  They felt justified in doing this when it started because they never imagined the path would lead them to where they ended up.

It starts with a single compromise to oneself – doing a job you hate to achieve something you want or putting your own art on hold to pay the bills.  But to maintain that compromise, you need to make another, and another in support of it until you’ve built up a whole network of interconnected dependencies that form the bars of a framework behind which you are self-imprisoned.

You’ve put so much effort into building this thing called “your life” that you can’t bear to let it go – like a cancerous tumor you’ve become really attached to, to the point you won’t let anyone remove it from you for fear of the consequences.

Captain Kirk said, “I need my pain,” when he was offered the chance to become “magically” angst-free in one of the movies.  Our angst is the scar we wear, the badge of honor for all the suffering we endured on the way to the life we have fashioned for ourselves that we never really wanted.  It defines our struggle, so it defines us, or at least who we have become.

But is that who we really “are” much less who we would want to be?  Of course not.  But are we willing to change?  Hell, no!  We’d not only be risking everything and everyone we have, but would then have to face that fact that some of those aren’t the things and people we really desire.  And then there’s the kids, and all those who depend upon us, and our responsibility to future generations….

Shakespeare said,

Who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered country from whose bourn
No traveler returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?

But in this case, it is not the after-life we fear, but life itself.  Can we really face having to acknowledge we’ve spent years of our lives weaving a fabric with a horrible pattern that doesn’t reflect us at all?  And wouldn’t THAT be dandy, to not only have to face such knowledge, but then to crash it all down in order to be ourselves so all we end up with is lost time and nothing at all to show for it?  Gambler’s syndrome – if I spend a little bit more I’ll eventually score big enough to cover all of my loses and still come home a winner.

No, it’s not an easy place to go.  But as artists, we head right for that place like lemmings, subjugating our Muse “until later” or because we need to be “responsible.”  Seriously?  What kinds of lame excuses are these?

Don’t lie to yourself that it will happen someday, because it never will – not on its own.  It will only happen someday if you make it happen.  And there’s no time like the present.  Yeah, sure, okay,  you’re not going to abandon your family and head off to another continent to rediscover your Muse (though some have done just that).  But you probably won’t.  I never have, but then I’m no example of much of anything, ‘cept to myself, of course.

No, you’ll probably want to write the great American (or some other nationality) Novel or Screenplay, and you’ll “grunt and sweat under a weary life.” to try to make that happen while still trying to maintain everything else.  After all, J. K. Rowling did just that, didn’t she?

But honestly, how many J. K. Rowlings are in the world?  One, of course,  So give up the dream of writing what you want and expecting it also to make mega bucks.  Could happen, but you’ll probably have better odds with the Lotto.  Besides, as soon as cold, hard cash enters the picture, your Muse seizes up in a mental charlie horse, all twisted up and contorted into a Gordian knot of creative deadlock.  Oh, yeah. That’s fun.

Listen my friends (I can call you my friends, can’t I?) if you want to be happy in writing, just write whatever you freaking want.  And write it how you want.  And tell it the way you want it told.  And never sell out your Muse for security – oh, no…

Sure, take words-for-pay job on the side but realize it has nothing to do with your creative self.  Be truthful, it’s just for the money.  Differentiate between your worker-bee self and your inventive spirit self, and don’t ever, not now, never, under any circumstances lock the two together or they will both go down into the deep and you along with them, waving to you like Ahab on the whale of reality as your inspiration sinks below the waves leaving no one to tell the tale because the writer in you just drowned in self-pity and was never heard from again (though some mindless husk continues to crank out text under the same name).

You yam what you yam.  Eat it.

Melanie Anne Phillips
Creator, StoryWeaver
Co-creator, Dramatica

The Author’s Journey



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.

Many story development methods look first to construct plot, characters, and thematic message.  Then they direct an author to fashion a story that follows the hero’s journey or a series of genre-specific scenes or beats.

In contrast, let’s look toward the author’s journey – the stages through which all writers pass on their way from concept to completion of their novel or screenplay.

There are  four primary stages in the author’s journey:

1. Inspiration

2. Development

3. Exposition

4. Storytelling.

Here’s a brief description of each:

Stage One: Inspiration

The Inspiration Stage begins the moment we have an idea for a story.  This might be an overall concept (computer geeks are transported to the old west), a plot twist (a detective discovers he is investigating his own murder), a character situation (Ponce de Leon still lives today), a thematic topic (fracking), a character study (an aging rock star who is losing his licks) a line of dialog (“Just cuz somthin’s free don’t mean you didn’t buy it.”), a title (Too Old To Die Young) or any other creative notion that makes you think, that’s a good idea for a story!

What gets the hair on your writerly tail to stand up isn’t important.  Whatever it is, you are in the Inspiration Stage and it lasts as long as the ideas flow like spring runoff.  You might add characters, specific events in your plot or even write a chapter or two.  A very lucky writer never gets out of this stage and just keeps on going until the novel is completely written and sent out for publication.

Alas, for most of us, the Muse vanishes somewhere along the line, and we find ourselves staring at the all-too-familiar blank page wondering where to go from here.  Where we go is to Stage Two: Development.

Stage Two:  Development

In the Development Stage we stand back and take a long critical look at our story.  There are likely sections that are ready to write, or perhaps you’ve already written some.  Then there are the holes, both small and gaping, where there’s a disconnect from one moment you’ve worked out to the next one, bridging over what you can intuitively feel are several skipped beats along the way.  There are also breaks in logic when what happens at the beginning makes no sense in connection to what happens at the end (like the Golden Spike if the tracks were a mile apart).  There are characters that don’t ring true, unresolved conflicts, and expressed emotions that seem to come out of nowhere.  You may find thematic inconsistency or may even be missing a theme altogether.

And so, the work begins – tackling each and every one of these by itself, even while trying to make them all fit together.  By the end of the development stage, you’ll have added detail and richness to your story and gotten all the parts to work in concert like a well-turned machine, but it probably wasn’t easy or pleasant.

Eventually (thank providence) you’ll have all the leaks plugged and a fresh coat of paint on the thing.  You now know your story inside and out.  But, your readers won’t.  In fact, you realize that while you can see your beginning, ending and all that happens in between in a single glance, all at once, your readers or audience will be introduced to the elements of your story in a winding sequential progression of reveals.  You also realize you have quite unawares stumbled into Stage Three: Exposition.

Stage Three: Exposition

You know your story, but how do you unfold it for others?  Where do you begin?  Do you use flash backs or perhaps flash forwards?  Do you mislead them?  Do you keep a mystery?  Do you spell things out all at once, or do you drop clues along the way?

There are endless techniques for revealing the totality of your story, many can be used simultaneously, and each one adds a different spice to the journey.  Like a parade, every float and band has a position designed to create the greatest impact.  And when you have all that figured out, you are ready to write as you begin the Storytelling Stage.

Stage Four: Storytelling

Storytelling is all about word play and style.   Whether you are writing a novel, a screenplay or a stage play, there are media-specific manners of expression and conventions of communication, but within those there is plenty of room to maneuver artistically.

Before we send it out the door, we writers shift and substitute and polish until (almost regretfully) we let it go, just like a parent bundling up a child for school.  In the end, as Da Vinci’s famous saying goes, “Art is never finished, only abandoned.”

So, Inspiration, Development, Exposition and Storytelling are the four stages of story development that nearly every writer travels through on the way from concept to completion.

In summary

By following the author’s creative journey, the story development process is never at odds with a writer’s Muse.  So story building becomes a smooth and comfortable  endeavor that encourages invention and boosts the motivation to get it done.

Our StoryWeaver story development software was designed to guide you through all four stages of the author’s journey to build your story’s world, step by step.

Spin a Tale, Weave a Story

The common expression “spinning a yarn” conjures up the image of a craftsperson pulling together a fluffy pile into a single unbroken thread. An appropriate analogy for the process of telling a tale. A tale is a simple, linear progression – a series of events and emotional experiences that leads from point A to point B, makes sense along the way, and leaves no gaps.

A tale is, perhaps, the simplest form of storytelling structure. The keyword here is “structure.” Certainly, structure isn’t necessary to communicate powerful feelings as a montage of experiences.  One can still relate a conglomeration of intermingled scenarios, each with its own meaning and emotional impact. Many well-known works of this ilk are considered classics, especially as novels or experimental films.

Nonetheless, if one wants to make a point, you need to create a line that leads from your premise to your conclusion. A tale, then, is a sequence of dramatic elements leading from the point of departure to the destination on a single path.

A story, on the other hand, is a more complex form of structure. Essentially, a number of different story threads are intertwined around one another, much as a artist might weave a tapestry. Each individual thread is a tale that needs to be spun, making its own internal message complete, unbroken, and possessing its own sequence. But collectively, the messages of all the threads come together in a single, overall pattern in the tapestry of the story, much as the scanning lines on a television come together to create the image of a single frame.

In story structure, then, the sequence of events in each individual thread cannot be random, but must be designed to do double-duty – both making sense as an unbroken progression and also as pieces of a greater purpose.

To be a story thread, a sequence of dramatic elements must have its own beginning, middle, and end. For example, every character’s growth has its own thread. Typically, this is referred to as a character arc, especially when in reference to the main character. But an “arc” has nothing to do with the growth of a character. Rather, each character’s emotional journey is a personal tale that describe his or her feelings at the beginning of the story, at every key juncture, and at the final reckoning.

Some characters may come to change their natures, others may grow in their resolve. But their mood swings, attitudes, and outlook must follow an unbroken path that is consistent with a series of emotions that a real human being might experience. For example, a person will not instantly snap from a deep depression into joyous elation without some intervening impact, be it unexpected news, a personal epiphany, or even the ingestion of great quantities of chocolate. In short, each character’s throughline must be true to itself, and also must take into consideration the effect of outside influences.

How can we use this throughline concept? Well, right off the bat, it helps us break even the most complex story structures down into a collection of much simpler elements. With the throughline concept, we can far more easily create a story structure, and can also ensure that every element is complete and that our story has no gaps or inconsistencies.

Traditionally,  writers would haul out the old index cards (or their equivalent) and try to create a single sequential progression for their stories from Act I, Scene I to the climax and final denouement.

An unfortunate byproduct of this “single throughline” approach is that it tended to make stories far more simplistic than they actually needed to be since the author would think of the sequential structure as being essentially a simple tale, rather than a layered story.

In addition, by separating the throughlines it is far easier to see if there are any gaps in the chain. Using a single thread approach to a story runs the risk of having a powerful event in one throughline carry enough dramatic weight to pull the story along, masking missing pieces in other throughlines that never get filled. This, in fact, is part of what makes some stories seem disconnected from the real world, trite, or melodramatic.

By using throughlines it is far easier to create complex themes and layered messages. Many authors think of stories as having only one theme (if that). A theme is just a comparison between two human qualities to see which is better in the given situations of the story.

For example, a story might wish to deal with greed. But, greed by itself is just a topic. It doesn’t become a theme until you weigh it against its counterpoint, generosity, and then “prove” which is the better quality of spirit to possess by showing how they each fare over the course of the story. One story’s message might be that generosity is better, but another story might wish to put forth that in a particular circumstance, greed is actually better.

By seeing the exploration of greed as one throughline and the exploration of generosity as another, each can be presented in its own progression. In so doing, the author avoids directly comparing one to the other (as this leads to a ham-handed and preachy message), but instead can balance one against the other so that the evidence builds as to which is better, but you still allow the audience to come to its own conclusion, thereby involving them in the message and making it their own. Certainly, a more powerful approach.

Plot, too, is assisted by multiple throughlines. Subplots are often hard to create and hard to follow. By dealing with each independently and side by side, you can easily see how they interrelate and can spot and holes or inconsistencies.

Subplots usually revolve around different characters. By placing a character’s growth throughline alongside his or her subplot throughline, you can make sure their mental state is always reflective of their inner state, and that they are never called upon to act in a way that is inconsistent with their mood or attitude at the time.

There are many other advantages to the use of throughlines as well. So many, that the Dramatica theory (and software) incorporate throughlines into the whole approach. Years later, when I developed StoryWeaver at my own company, throughlines became an integral part of the step-by-step story development approach it offers.

How do you begin to use throughlines for your stories? The first step is to get yourself some index cards, either 3×5 or 5×7. As you develop your story, rather than simply lining them all up in order, you take each sequential element of your story and create its own independent series of cards showing every step along the way.

Identify each separate kind of throughline with a different color. For example, you could make character-related throughlines blue (or use blue ink, or a blue dot) and make plot related throughlines green. This way, when you assemble them all together into your overall story structure, you can tell at a glance which elements are which, and even get a sense of which points in your story are character heavy or plot or theme heavy.

Then, identify each throughline within a group by its own mark, such as the character’s name, or some catch-phrase that describes a particular sub-plot, such as, “Joe’s attempt to fool Sally (or more simply, the “Sally Caper.”). That way, even when you weave them all together into a single storyline, you can easily find and work with the components of any given throughline. Be sure also to number the cards in each throughline in sequence, so if you accidentally mix them up or decide to present them out of order for storytelling purposes, such as in a flashback or flash forward, you will know the order in which they actually need to occur in the “real time” of the story.

So, bottom line:  you spin a tale or you can weave a story, but if you want to convey a complex message, you need to ensure that every thread is not only a quality one, but that they all work together to create a greater meaning.

This technique is the heart of our StoryWeaver Story Development Software.  Click here for details or to try it risk-free for 90 days.

Melanie Anne Phillips
Creator, StoryWeaver

Tear Your Story Apart

By necessity, authors are so focused on what they are putting into their stories that they often don’t think about what isn’t there.  Yet the early stages of story development only create a framework – a skeleton – and for a story to truly take shape, become organic, and take on a personality, many additional details will be needed.

Here’s a simple technique you can use to add depth and breadth to any story.

First, write a brief one or two sentence description of the core of your story.  For example, here’s a thumbnail description of a story my son and I for years have threatened to write:

Snow Sharks (Don’t Eat Red Snow)

Thumbnail for Snow Sharks:

The government has been developing a new breed of shark that lives in snow rather than water for use as mobile land mines in places such as Siberia or the Arctic.  A transport plane carrying them crashes in a storm high in the Rocky Mountains.

Now, we ask questions about each sentence in our thumbnail:

Questions about the first sentence:

The government has been developing a new breed of shark that lives in snow rather than water for use as mobile land mines in places such as Siberia or the Arctic.  

1. What branch of the government is involved?

2. Is this sanctioned or rogue?

3. Who is/are the scientists behind this?

4. How long has this program been going on?

5. How close are they to a final “product?”

6. Can the sharks breathe air?

7. Do they require cold (can they live in heat)?

Questions about the second sentence:

A transport plane carrying them crashes in a storm high in the Rocky Mountains.

1. What kind of plane?

2. How many sharks was it carrying?

3. Do they all survive?

4. Where was the transport taking the sharks?

5. Why couldn’t they wait until after the storm?

6. How many crew members are on board?

7. What are their jobs?

8. Do the crew members know what they are carrying?

9. Do any sharks survive?

10. If so, do the sharks kill all the survivors?

11. Is there anything in the wreckage that reveals the cargo, its nature and who is behind it?

12. Is the crew able to contact their command center before crashing?

13. Are they able to convey their location?

14. Is there a rescue beacon?

15. Does the plane carry a “black box.”

As you can see, each question is like a thread you can pull – a story thread that can open up a whole new aspect of your plot progression and character arcs.

If you were to answer each of these questions, your story would expand from that simple two-sentence thumbnail into a much richer story.

Then, you could ask questions about each sentence in the new, expanded story and grow it even larger very quickly.

If you already have a story, be it just an outline, a short synopsis, or even a complete draft, asking questions like these about key expository sentences in your manuscript can help offer alternatives to what may be a cliche story line, or to add more detail or subordinate plot lines that enrich the fabric of your overall story.

In summary, the point is that you don’t have to bang your head against a blank page trying to come up with ideas.  Just tear your story apart with as many questions as you might reasonable ask, and it will grow like baseless rumor on the internet.

Melanie Anne Phillips
Creator, StoryWeaver

Writing Stories with a Collective Goal

Some novice writers become so wrapped up in interesting events and bits of action that they forget to have a central unifying goal that gives purpose to all the other events that take place.  This creates a plot without a core.

But determining your story’s goal can be difficult, especially if your story is character oriented, and not really about a Grand Quest.

For example, in the movie “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” all the characters are struggling with their relationships and not working toward an apparent common purpose.  There is a goal, however, and it is to find happiness in a relationship.

This type of goal is called a “Collective Goal” since it is not about trying to achieve the same thing, but the same KIND of thing.

So don’t try to force some external, singular purpose on your story if it isn’t appropriate.  But do find the common purpose in which all your characters share a critical interest.

Melanie Anne Phillips
Creator, StoryWeaver

The Master Storyteller Method

Perhaps the greatest hurdle in writing is the attempt to bring structure to a story without putting your Muse in a straight jacket.

Often structure is brought into the picture too soon, clamping your passion into an iron maiden that pierces it more deeply with every turn of a structural screw until it bleeds out entirely.

In contrast, writing with purposeless abandon creates a jellyfish of a story: an amorphous blob of subject matter with no spine, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

The Master Storyteller Method was designed to bring passion and structure together seamlessly, at the right place and the right time in the story development process.

When first starting to write, our ideas usually come fast and furious. Many of them are little snippets: a notion for a line of dialog, a location in which some action will take place, the basic concept for a character, or perhaps a plot twist. Sometimes, we begin with no more than a period of history or a topic or an ethical message that we’d like to explore in our book or screenplay, and the more we think about it, the more ideas we get.

Like the pieces to a jigsaw puzzle, each story concept is separate, and what’s more, we haven’t seen the picture on the box so we don’t even know that we’re trying to build. What we are doing at this stage is developing a Story World – basically a realm of our interests or subject matter that is all of the same basic topic or genre, but really isn’t a story yet.

As the story world becomes more complete, we begin to get a sense of the story we want to tell. In fact, a single Story World can give birth to many different stories, such as with Harry Potter, Anne Rice’s Vampire Saga, and the Star Wars Universe.

The Master Storyteller Method provides techniques developing your story’s world and discovering who’s in it, what happens to them, and what it all means.

Your story world is like a map of the material you’d like to explore. Your story will be the specific path you take across it. Think of your Story World as a beautiful unspoiled landscape, untouched by the hand of man. You are a pioneer who is the first to see that gorgeous valley and your mind envisions a glorious city to be built there that works in harmony with the environment and provides an orderly life for its inhabitants.

You would not do well to have come with a predetermined “most efficient” city plan with all the streets and locations laid out with complete disregard to the terrain – to simply be stamped onto the land. Rather, you should look at the lay of the land and determine where a road can go straight and where it must go around a hill or a stand of trees to retain and even maximize the beauty of the scenic route.

Sometimes, alas, a tunnel must be drilled through a hill as it is the only way to get to a view, or a roadbed cleared through the trees so you can see the forest for them. But more often than not, if the landscape of your story is the guiding organizing property and the structure conforms to it, it will be a far finer city experience in the end.

The Master Storyteller Method gently creates a freeform structure: a means of organizing your story world that is both free and has form.

Eventually, you will have platted out your story city so that all the most impressive landmarks are left unaltered and there is an unbroken pathway that will convey your reader from one to the next until the sum total of your purpose in telling the story can be seen an appreciated.

But before you pave those roads and commit to construction, you’ll want to be sure you have made all the best choices and that no better alternatives have emerged during your efforts to refine and revise your city plan.

What you need is an objective way of double-checking that all the traffic will move smoothly, that the unexpected twists and turns in the road have a reason to be laid out that way and that no roads come up short or run into dead ends.

The Master Storyteller Method employs an interactive spot-check for all essential structural points and a guide against which you can compare your story-plan to see where and how far you may have diverged from a consistent structure.

Keep in mind that no structure has to be perfect in a finished work. Still, you’ll want your structure to be as sound as possible without undermining the very concepts that drew you to want to write this particular story in the first place. In the end, it is a judgment call for the author as to whether drifting off structure does too much harm or is okay in any given case.

The main point is that that no one reads a book or goes to a movie to experience a perfect structure but rather to have their passions ignited. So if it comes to a choice between an exciting thing and a structural thing, go with the excitement whenever you can, but be sure never to break structure completely or your readers or audience will not be able to cross that gap and will cease to follow you on your journey.

The Master Storyteller Method is at the core of the StoryWeaver story development software I designed to help authors get from concept to completion of their novels or screenplays, step by step.

Melanie Anne Phillips
Creator, StoryWeaver

Have Your Characters Write Their Own Life Stories

For your characters to be compelling, your readers will need to think of them as real people, not just dramatic functionaries or collections of traits.

To help make this happen, have each of your characters write a short one-page autobiographical piece about themselves in their own words, describing their childhoods, backgrounds, activities, interests, attitudes, relationships, pet peeves and outlooks on life.

Try to write these in the unique voice of each character and from their point of view. Don’t write about them; let them write about themselves.

This will give you the experience of what it is like to see the world through each character’s eyes, which will help you empathize with their motivations and thereby make it easier for you to write your novel in such a way that your readers can step into your characters’ shoes.

Melanie Anne Phillips
Creator, StoryWeaver

Use Nicknames to Enrich Your Characters

Nicknames are wonderful dramatic devices because they can work with the character’s apparent physical nature or personality, work against it for humiliating or comedic effect, play into the plot by telegraphing the activities in which the character will engage, create irony, or provide mystery by hinting at information or a back-story for the character that led to its nickname but has not yet been divulged to the readers. Consider using nicknames in addition to or instead of characters’ proper names to add flavor and familiarity to their personalities.

Browse our library of writing tips at Storymind.com and try our StoryWeaver story development software risk-free for 90 days.

Novels Aren’t Stories

A novel does not have to be a story.  It can just be extremely free forms, such as in Virginia Woolf’s books where the entire narrative is a single subjective stream of consciousness. Other narratives e are simply explorations of a top or even collections of several stories that may or may not be intertwined.

For example, Jerzy N. Kosinski (the author of “Being There,” wrote another novel called “Steps.” It contains a series of story fragments. Sometimes you get the middle of a short story, but no middle or end. Sometimes, just the end, and sometimes just the middle.

Each fragment is wholly involving, and leaves you wanting to know the rest of the tale, but they are not to be found. In fact, there is not (that I could find) any connection among the stories, nor any reason they are in that particular order. And yet, they are so passionately told that it was one of the best reads I ever enjoyed.

The point is, don’t feel confined to restrict your novel to tell a single story, straight through, beginning to end.

Rather than think of writing a novel, think about writing a book. Consider that a book can be filled with anything you’d like to put in it.  You can take time to pontificate on your favorite subject, if you like. Unlike screenplays which must continue to move, you can stop the story and diverge into any are you like, as long as you can hold your reader’s interest.

For example, in the Stephen King novel, “The Tommy Knockers,” he meanders around a party, and allows a character to go on and on… and on… about the perils of nuclear power. Nuclear power has nothing to do with the story, and the conversation does not affect nor advance anything. King just wanted to say that, and did so in an interesting diatribe.

So feel free to break any form you have ever heard must be followed. The most liberated of all written media is the novel, and you can literally – do whatever you want.

Find your Muse with our

StoryWeaver Story Development Software