Plot

Storytelling

Five Tricks to Invigorate Your Ending

Stories can end in countless ways, and no one can tell you which one is the right one. But these tricks can give your ending – whatever it is – some extra pizzazz. None of them will work for every story, but try them on. You might find the perfect fit. Read more »

Storytelling

Understanding Conflict & Tension

The words “conflict” and “tension” are casually thrown around in most discussions of storytelling, but they don’t mean exactly what they do in everyday speech. If you haven’t gotten a formal introduction to conflict and tension, here’s what you need to know. Read more »

Analysis

Five Villains Who Follow the Heroine’s Journey

I outlined the Heroine’s Journey last week, but it’s more fun to watch it in action. Because this structure is about a character who’s out of balance and makes a course correction, it’s often used for villains who take a heel-face turn. Here’s five villains … read more »

Storytelling

Using the Heroine’s Journey

The Hero’s Journey has become widely popular. Unfortunately, the original was clearly intended for men and not women. In response, some feminists have created their own, female-centered version. Lucky for us storytellers, both can be abstracted to work for a wide array of stories. Read more »

Writing

Should You Outline?

There are few greater slug matches between writers than the debate over using an outline to plan a story. The line is drawn firmly in the sand, with “planners” on one side, and “pantsers” on the other. Each side has big names claiming their way is the only … read more »

Storytelling

Is It Plot?

New storytellers often have trouble telling the difference between “things happening” and “a story unfolding.” Without the ability to turn events into plots, there is no story, and audience will quickly become bored and spend their time elsewhere. Luckily, plots only need a few basic … read more »

Storytelling

How to Create an Unhappy Ending

Throughout your story, your audience will cheer for your hero as she struggles against the villains. There will be many losses and gains, until it’s time for the final battle. You know your audience will leave satisfied if your hero knocks the bad guy out of the park. But what if you want her to fail? Read more »

Writing

Your Plot Is a Fractal

Have you ever wondered how to plot a series of novels instead of just one? Or how to structure a single event that takes only half a scene? If so, I have good news for you: you never have to be confused by scale again. … read more »

Storytelling

Ten Movies With Strong Character Arcs

A couple weeks ago I broke down the components of a solid character arc. But hearing about them isn’t as fun as watching them in action. Whether you want to get a better feel for how character arcs work, or you just love character-centered stories, … read more »

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