Direct Readers’ Focus: The Golden Ratio

Minute details are a double-edged sword to the flow of a story. Outright descriptors – adjectives and adverbs, even forceful verbs – have the power to choke out ideas and action. Artful concepts, however, can accomplish incredible feats of...

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Setting and “Show Don’t Tell”

Setting, the most description-heavy part of a story, benefits from the classic advice, “Show Don’t Tell”. We’ll be addressing this advice from a few different angles in other posts, but in this one it feels right to start with...

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2 Tricks for Powerful Description

Communication demands description. Incorporating it into narrative, however, can be tricky, especially when writing for entertainment. Linear storytelling demands that action occur and characters interact. Much of the art of writing requires description not only convey information, but also...

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Strengthen Your Story Concept: Interest, Story Generators, and Playing What-If

Translating an interesting idea into a good story starts with finding the story in the idea. It’s very easy to be excited by something and want to write about it. Inspiration is excellent! It also fills up files like...

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Writing with Humanity’s 5 Primal Fears

Theories and studies in human studies provide excellent writing tools. Earlier this year, we shared material on love types as well as sociological pressures. Now, we turn attention to the basic elements of human fear as tools to generate...

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This Story Needs Something… But What?

In working with hobby writers, I find myself frequently asking for more. “More?” I've been asked. “More what?” Well, that’s always been different depending on the person and their work. Rarely, however, has it been as simple as more dialogue,...

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Kill Characters with Purpose

Google “how to kill a character”. Seriously, do it. There are dozens of links, posts, and witty little graphics showing the ways to cause death, soften the blow for readers, and create compelling death scenes. What is severely lacking...

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More than Writing Death Scenes

Why do characters die? This isn't asking why main characters die, but why do those disposable, side-lined, often parental characters die in stories? The element of death in fiction seeps into stories constantly, leaping unbidden into a back-story or...

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Plot Pacing and Acceleration

The pace of a story accelerates toward the climactic scene where good triumphs over evil, the misguided man reaches his downfall, or the light of understanding breaks over the world like a wave. Writers craft the acceleration affect in...

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Tracking Multiple Characters

Characters interact. This shows the reader the story, pushes forward the plot, and crafts the conflict. Some genres, like romance fiction, center on the interaction of two or more character arcs. Other types are supported by the interaction of...

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