Plot

Writing

Planning Your Story’s Opening Passages

Double doors opening with a bright sky on the other side

Readers have a lot to learn during an opening, and somehow they have to learn it while being entertained. Doing that takes a careful, piecemeal approach. However, all the information readers need is often interconnected, making it difficult to figure out where to start explaining … read more »

Storytelling

How to Write a Travel Story

The Dawn Treader - A old sailing ship with a dragon figurehead

Travel is the bane of many speculative fiction works. The hero must get somewhere to achieve their destiny, and all too often, the time spent tromping around feels like an annoying delay. But some stories are about travel. In these fictional travelogues, where the hero … read more »

Q&A

How Do I Keep a Second Point of View Relevant?

questions and answer talk bubbles

I’m working on a plot about two soldiers on the run trying to expose the corruption of a military organization. And to make it more realistic and get deeper into worldbuilding, I want to add a subplot about a journalist working on the same case … read more »

Writing

How to Use the Uncanny in Your Writing

A hand with all of the fingers the same length. Eye whites that aren’t white. Seeing a stranger in the mirror. A subtler cousin of horror, the uncanny is more about discomfort than fear. Sigmund Freud* described it as, in greatly paraphrased form here, making … read more »

Analysis

Six Characters Siloed Into a Separate Story

Eleven eating waffles in the woods.

The more characters in a story, the greater burden it is under. Ideally, each character’s narrative will weave together into the throughline, but that doesn’t always happen. Instead, stories often fracture under the pressure of an oversize cast, splitting off into unrelated plots. In the most … read more »

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