Storytelling

When Is It Appropriate to Dispel the Mystery?

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Hey! So my question is how often a writer should utilize mystery and enigma in stories.  In Star Wars, there was a huge fiasco when in the prequels they explained the nature of the Force, as many fans would have preferred it had been left … read more »

Taking Character Relationships to the Next Level

Holmes and Watson from Elementary sit on a couch together.

Character relationships are, in many ways, the glue that holds a story together. Almost every tale has at least one relationship at the heart of it, often more. Rarely can a character sustain a story on their own; they need others: friends, family, mentors, lovers, … read more »

How Do You Bring an Inexperienced Hero to a Fight?

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Your article on how to bring swords to a gunfight was very interesting, and I’m dealing with a (somewhat) similar idea except that it involves characters. The plot’s picking up speed. Things are getting serious. Your protagonist is in over their head. They don’t know … read more »

Five Concepts for Becoming a Better Storyteller

Stacked coins on a wooden surface

Improving your work is a process fraught with conflicting feedback and emotional resistance. However, understanding some important principles can help you put the problems you encounter into perspective. Here’s five concepts that are useful for accepting feedback and making your stories better. Read more »

The Dual Plot Structure That Makes Stories a Success

We’ve previously discussed how every story requires a throughline – the plot arc that binds the story together. Most manuscripts desperately need to prioritize a single plot arc and cut whatever doesn’t fit within that. But like most things, throughlines are more complex in practice … read more »

How Do You Handle Protagonists Who Kill?

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I don’t think it’s controversial to say that killing is abhorrent. But in my novelette series, particularly the latest story, there is a great deal of cultists to be killed. I don’t particularly want to dive into the protagonist’s slow mental breakdown at the horror … read more »

Six Ways to Bluff That Your Hero Will Die

Three skeletons playing cards

Many stories use the possibility that the hero will die to keep the story tense. But since heroes live through most life-threatening situations, it’s difficult to convince savvy audience members that your hero could meet their end. To get the drop on your audience, you’ll … read more »

What’s the Purpose of a Sidekick Like Heihei?

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Thinking through hero’s journey and story archetypes (newbie here!) and was watching the recent Pixar movie Moana. My question is, what do you see as the function of or reason for a story to choose a relatively inanimate/neutral sidekick like Heihei (Moana’s chicken, that, though providing some … read more »

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